The Eduvation Network

The state of South Africa’s mental health


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.

  • Connect with other people – make time to chat to friends and family and make sure that you don’t isolate yourself. Share positive thoughts and experiences and talk about how you feel.
  • Be active – as cliché as it may sound, a healthy body contributes to maintaining a healthy mind. Even if you just make time to walk around the block or in your garden, make time to get fresh air and get your heart rate up.
  • Learn some new skills – keep life interesting and learn a new skill – whether it is a different language or painting – keep your life interesting and keep your brain active. It is amazing how rewarding it can be to develop a new talent.
  • Research suggests that acts of giving kindness can help improve your mental wellbeing. It gives a feeling of purpose and self-worth.

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

The state of South Africa’s mental health


Inge Liebenberg




Login to The Eduvation Platform

I hereby accept the terms & Conditions