Mental health is something we read about frequently in the news and each one of us knows at least one person who is suffering from mental illness. As much as we are faced with articles and awareness around mental health, a lot of people still don’t completely grasp the concept. So, what is mental health? Mental health, defined by the World Health Organization, is “a state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”
The global Coronavirus pandemic has played the biggest role in the deterioration of South Africa’s mental health. Just like every other country all over the world, South Africans were faced with massive challenges that COVID-19 laid before our doors. Life as we know it has been turned upside down that nobody signed up for – job losses, extreme financial strain, severe depression, emotional distress and anxiety caused by fear of the unknown – and this is backed up by some shocking statistics.
Data presented by the South African College of Applied Psychology, suggest that one in six South Africans suffers from anxiety, depression, or a substance abuse, 40% of the population who are living with HIV have a comorbid mental disorder, 41% of pregnant women are depressed and about 60% of South Africans could be suffering from post-traumatic stress – this figure includes accidents and crime. Out of these tragic numbers, only 27% of South Africans with severe mental health issues actually receive treatment. This reflects how the health system is failing…
Looking at these statistics, it is so important for South Africans to have the tools to know how to improve their own mental health as much as possible.
It is of the utmost importance to first take care of yourself and make sure that you are in the best possible emotional state to take care of your family and loved ones.
“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor and more unashamed conversation.” – Glenn Close
06 October 2021
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