With the aim of breaking the stigma attached to mental illness, July has been set aside to focus on ways you and I can play a role in educating and being educated about mental illness, and the common misconceptions attached to them.
Mental illness, whether it be depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), schizophrenia or any other example, do not discriminate, no matter the age, race, income or education. One in three south africans suffer from one of them and eighty percent of them will not seek out treatment, many because of the stigma attached to a mental disorder, as well as lack of education on the topic.
Mental illness can not be played down to someone being weak, without the ability to simply “snap out of it”, and often words just like that can make a situation worse. Words like “crazy”,“schizo”,“weirdo” and “loony” are amongst words associated to the stigma of mental illness that need to be broken. By talking about mental illness and learning about what others go through, we begin to see the people affected and not just an illness.
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) wants to create awareness to encourage more people to seek help, treatment and support.
Latest mental health statistics
- Over 30% of the SA population will or do have a mental disorder in their lifetime.
- One in four people in the workplace have been diagnosed with depression.
- One in four female teens have made one or more suicide attempts.
- 31.5% teens have attempted suicide who needed medical treatment.