The Christmas break is seen as a time to spend with loved ones, go on holiday or take some time off work. But for many people, their families could be the source of their anxiety and depression, making the “festive” season, a time of loneliness and sadness.
South Africa is not at war, yet our rates of violence are similar to war zones. Virtually every child surveyed in Soweto has witnessed extreme violence, which means they have more in common with Palestinian children than our African neighbours – and our mental health is suffering.
Could the lack of adequate counselling and mental health services in South Africa’s health facilities leave sexual violence survivors more vulnerable to post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and suicide? A new national study gives us the answers.
In 2017, a survey by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) revealed that just one in six employees with mental illness said they felt comfortable disclosing their condition to their manager.
MPUMALANGA – “I remember the last time my mother disappeared. People from a nearby community found her walking alone in the middle of the night naked. She couldn’t remember her own name and because she was naked people thought she was a witch. They wanted to burn her alive.”
Community-based mental health organisations are cash-strapped, and face ongoing threats from government that their subsidies will be cut. But the Esidimeni tragedy shows that more money should be invested in these facilities to protect patients from being discharged into hostile communities before they are ready.
The Gauteng Health Department ignored dire warnings not to “de-institutionalise” over 1000 psychiatric patients from secure care facilities run by Life Esidimeni. Now 37 patients have died in a few months – and families want answers.