Reaching out to sufferers
Mental illness is a real health concern. It is estimated that one in five people in South Africa will suffer from a mental health problem some time in their lives.
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) is a non-profit organisation, which was established 15 years ago to serve as a support network for thousands of South Africans who live with mental health problems.
Sadag has a network of over 180 support groups throughout the country, including outreach programmes in remote rural areas, where community members lack access to resources and funding for treatment.
Sadag offers a variety of workshops and training programmes countrywide in various languages to a diverse number of groups, like commercial and large corporates, traditional healers, home-based care workers, hospithis and clinics, correctional facilities, schools, churches and youth groups.
Last Thursday, some of these groups came out in their numbers to attend a workshop that Sadag held in KwaThema at the Ekurhuleni East College, at which topics about depression, mental health, suicide and how to prevent it, how to cope with trauma and how to start support groups were tackled.
People often say hurtful things, which may stop a depressed person from getting help. They don?t understand that depression is a real ilhiess, which is why some people would rather die than admit they need help.
Palesa Malope, a 25-year-old psychology student, who is now a Sadag volunteer and part-time counselloj used to suffer from depression. For years, she lived in denial of having this illness and that only made matters worse, as she came close to committing suicide. Fortunately for her, an attack pushed her to take treatment and accept help from a professional counsellor. Now she works hand-in-hand with Sadag to help other teenagers to seek help if they have depression.
?The stigma that having a mental illness means you?re crazy needs to be banished, as it is far from true.
Depression is like any other illness that needs treatment in order to be cured and you need to be willing to be helped? she says.
Sadag currently runs a 16-line counselling and referral call centre, which is the voice of patient advocacy.
Help is just a phone call away.
Contact a Sadag representative at 0112626396, 0800121314 or 0800 753 379; SMS them at 31393 or visit their website for more information at www.sadag.co.za.
Members from the Tsakane Youth Crime Prevention Sector attended the Sadag workshop, to learn more about depression and how to start support groups to help those who suffer from depression and other mental health disorders.