Uppington’s Community Leaders and Teens - Huge turn out to Depression Programme
Last week, Upington was the centre of the South African Depression and Anxiety Support Groups programme on Youth Coping Skills and Suicide Prevention.
Two trainers, Ms Janine Shamos and Mr Jonathan Gerardy, from Johannesburg, spent four days working with the Department of Mental Health, community leaders, nurses, teachers, social workers, church leaders, prison officials, police officials and youth groups. This project was made possible by a grant from the Directorate of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in the Department of Health.
The first project was targeted at professionals and the presentation addressed practical guidelines on how to assist, counsel and recognise youths with Depression and Suicidal behaviours within the youth in their community. Amongst the professionals was Rene Kilian, a nurse in Upington who said "I found the program interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There is a need for more of these projects in this area.” She also indicated that there was “a lot of ignorance within the community as regards depression and
The next lecture was aimed at the youth (15-24 years old) in the community to help them recognise depression and suicide amongst themselves and their peers. The programme also covered stress management, problem solving and coping skills, to assist them to deal with their problems in a constructive way which would not lead them to take their own lives.
Charleen Visagie from the Universal College in Upington said, “I learnt a lot from the presentation.“ She added that the presentation was “very interesting and enjoyable”. Janine Shamos and Jonathan Gerardy, left the youth with brochures and pamphlets that would help them. These brochures and pamphlets can be obtained from the head office in Johannesburg. Their help line numbers are (011) 783-1474/6 and they offer a free counselling service from Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm and Saturday 8am to 5pm.
Mrs Katy Diergaardt , the Mental Health co-ordinator for the Ciyanda District added that “there is a huge need for support groups in Upington for people suffering with depression and anxiety disorders”. It is for this reason that she decided to start a support group in Upington.
The final phase of the programme was to launch a support group that would continue to provide support and information for the people of Upington. Upington has two local support groups run by Gcobisa Solomon, a teacher at a local High School. Gcobisa can be contacted on (054) 331-1997. Sophie van Wyk along with Monica de Klerk, both nurses at Gordonia Hospital can be contacted on (054) 331-1580. They will inform the public when their first meetings will be held.