The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) is Africa’s largest Mental Health advocacy group. Our call centre has 15 helplines and we assist callers countrywide with free telephonic counselling, referrals, info and support nationwide. Our main aim is to destigmatize mental health issues in all areas within South Africa. One of the key referrals we give callers are details of Support Groups in various areas throughout the country. These groups run once or twice a month and we are looking for recovered patients, family members, psychologists or teachers to help run a Support Group in their community.
“Many people in my group have felt and experienced similar things”, says one SADAG Support Group Leader, Jane in Johannesburg. “Opening up in a group, discussing these things in a group, helps people understand they are not ‘weird’, ‘different’ or alone – we understand, we’ve been there and we are there to help.”
Support Groups can offer anyone suffering from a mental illness, as well as their loved ones, a place of warmth, understanding and support. Research shows that Support Groups can help people cope with and recover from a wide variety of problems. They are able to provide information on the illness and ways to treat and manage it, as well as help give patients and loved ones names of places where further help and assistance can be found. SADAG Support Groups are run either by members of their local community who have recovered from one of these disorders or professionals working in the community. These groups allow members the opportunity to form connections with others experiencing similar troubles and to learn from one another in a non-judgmental, confidential atmosphere.
SADAG encourages anyone to get involved by contacting us if they are interested in starting a Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar or Trauma Support Group. SADAG will be hosting Support Group Leader Workshops in Cape Town on 19, 20 and 21 April. All new volunteer Support Group Leaders receive information and manuals. Our new Support Group Leaders are trained with how to run their group, finding a suitable venue and arrange guest speakers occasionally. We will also help promote the Support Group to the local media to advise people in your area about the group and what the dates and times are. SADAG keeps SMS lists of patients in all areas wanting to attend Support Groups which we will send out on the Support Group Leader’s behalf before every meeting. We also provide brochures, pamphlets and posters.
Running a Support Group is an incredibly rewarding experience and highlights just what an important role each of us plays in our community. To find out more information on how to start a Support Group or if you want to attend the Support Group Leader Training, please call Lara or Tiffany on 0800 21 22 23 or 0800 70 80 90, who will be able to answer all your questions and send you more info.