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Literacy is a luxury that many of us take for granted. That is why SADAG created SPEAKING BOOKS and revolutionized the way healthcare information is delivered to low literacy communities.

The customizable 16-page book, read by local celebrity audio recordings, ensures that vital health and social messages can be seen, heard, read and understood by everyone across the world.

We started with books on Teen Suicide prevention , HIV, AIDS and Depression, Understanding Mental Health and have developed over 100+ titles, such as TB, Malaria, Polio, Vaccines for over 45 countries.

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World Mental Health Day

10th October , 2009

Activities Around the Country

World Mental Health Day was celebrated in true SADAG fashion, with flair and style. Events that took place throughout the country included fun runs, comedy evenings, plays, movies and people from across South Africa were informed about mental health.


Maponya Mall, Soweto

The Maponya Mall in Soweto very kindly hosted our World Mental Health Day event in the centre court. Rosie Motene, DJ Lupi, two psychiatrists, Nkini Pasha SADAG’s Board Director, and SADAG counsellors spoke about depression, trauma, stress, and stigma. Celebrities Rosie Motene and Dj Lupi were there to inspire and motivate people at the mall. Rosie spoke beautifully and encouraged people to come forward for help and participate in the day. Psychiatrists Dr Rangaka and Dr Makaba spoke about depression, trauma, and stress. These topics were well received, and many people responded with questions. Dr Jonsson from Baragwanath Hospital who runs a support group there, very kindly attended this event and we greatly appreciate the donation of information packs for patients.

The turn out at Maponya Mall was great, and many people stopped to ask our counsellors what was going on and were keen to take our information booklets home. We also gave out prizes of Speaking Books and cook books which were a great success.

A big thanks to Nkini Pasha for acting as M.C, Shai, Jared, Freda, Debbie, and Kalliste for all the help and all the other counsellors from the Sandton offices who helped set up the day, our Soweto support group leaders Emmanual, Nsovo and Faith, and to Vernon Mitchell of the Maponya Mall - without whom this event could not have taken place. All in all, the entire event was a hit and I am sure we put the wheels in motion to start breaking down stigma in regard to mental health in the community.


A fun and interactive day was held at the Diepsloot Community Centre with celebrities, actors, Psychiatrists, and representatives of the clinic and government. The aim was to boost the community’s understanding and awareness of mental health. We greatly appreciated having Dr Shadi Motlana and Dr Leverne Mountany who spoke on Substance Abuse and Trauma in the community. This project initiated the opening of the first Jannsen Cilag Counselling centre in South Africa which opens in January 2010.

The mental health awareness play was an excellent way to debunk some of the myths surrounding mental illness. The play incorporated the stigma that is experienced in traditional black communities, and shed light on the fact that mental illness can be treated, as well as the importance of support from family and friends. The audience were on the edge of their seats throughout the play. It empowered indviduals to know that the actors, who did an amazing job in getting their message across, were all patients living with mental illness.

Laughing for Mental Health at the Market Theatre

On Saturday the 10th October, six of South Africa’s top comedians went head-to-head for mental health. This night of laughs, featuring Rabin Harduth, Joey Rasdien, Kedibone Mulaudzi, Andrew Eland, Vittorio Leonardi and Tshepo Mogale, was a huge success and definitely raised people’s spirits and got the audience feeling ‘mentally healthy’. Thanks to Fatima for her hard work. It was all co ordinate by her and a considerable sum of money was raised for SADAG. Counsellors, board members and members of the audience all appreciated the time they had given up to support SADAG.

Panic Workshop 10th of October

Due to popular demand, Dr Colinda Linde agreed to hold another panic workshop for World Mental Health Day. The workshop was extremely successful and was immensely enjoyed by everyone that attended. The 2 hour workshop became a 3 hour workshop as there were so many questions about panic and anxiety. Dr Linde taught the audience how to cope with a panic attack, giving them many practical steps to use. The information given was useful to both the patient and family member. We would like to send a special thanks to Dr Colinda Linde for taking the time to present this workshop once again for us, and to the SADAG helpers, Chevonne, Chad and Monique for their effort.

Support Groups


Sally’s Rosebank group had a lovely morning with 40 members attending – including some member that had not attended for years. Psychiatrist Dr Frans Korb was delightful giving a very clear outline of depressive disorders for us. People were very interested and asked many questions. Justin Kennedy tested people’s stress levels and showed how stress could be reduced through relaxation exercises and bio feedback. Shizu, a volunteer, demonstrated reflexology and showed us various points on our hands to rub, to decrease stress. It was a successful morning and people were very interested in the literature given by SADAG.


Karen’s group was addressed by Dr Agambaram who presented a talk on Bipolar. Members asked questions about finding the right psychiatrist, how to help a loved one who refuses help, and medication and its side effects. People found the talk very interesting and informative. There was a good turnout and more people will join the group in the future. Thank you to Dr Agambaram for the wonderful presentation.

Johannesburg General Hospital

15 people attended Sis Nkosi’s group where they watched the Living with Bipolar DVD. One of the patients spoke about her experience with the illness. Another patient recited a poem regarding her feelings about living with Bipolar. The group then had a question and answer session on the hereditary nature of Bipolar, and getting Bipolar at an early age. The patients were very happy and emotional about what was discussed and everyone said it was very helpful.

Faerie Glen, Pretoria

Francois’ group meeting went very well. After showing the movie “Living with Bipolar” Psychologist Lynne Brady gave an excellent and comprehensive presentation about Bipolar, after which she answered questions about the disorder, and how to help and support family members. The group had a good turn-out including 15 new faces! This is one of the busiest groups in Pretoria and patients always leave with new and helpful ideas from the other patients. Francois is extremely supportive and has even helped people by visiting them over weekends. His group is assisted by Thys and Johan, who are Francois right hand men in this busy support group.


The World Mental health day the Siyabuswa support group was held at Phephelaphi Place

Much of the talk was done by Peter Matlhaela (Siyabuswa Support Group leader). He covered Panic Disorder, Depression and Bipolar. The group was so excited about the talk, that they requested for similar talks to be given more often and also invite the professionals if possible. The meeting ended at 14h00 on a very positive note. The Matlhaela family donated R250, i.e. R100 for Place of Safety as it depends on donations for functioning and R150 was given to members who used taxis to come to the meeting for taxi fair and meals.

Western Cape


Una Hammond

World Mental Health day presented quite a breakthrough for the Belhar support group. The workshop in Parow was attended by about 100 people, which included both the young and old. The topics addressed were Bipolar and Depression. Speakers included Una and Mrs. v/d Westhuizen (professional counsellor).Church counsellors from various churches also attended, and learnt much about Mental health. Topics included Bipolar and Depression. The people that attended the workshop are still calling and want to have another Mental Health Wellness Day before year ends. The group felt it was important to include the churches so to inform people about the stigma attached to Mental Health. Most churches feel that the people suffering from such disorders should “snap out off” it and trust God. The message presented by the group was that the success of one’s recovery lies in taking your medication and trusting in God at the same time. The response toward this message was well received.

Overall the day went very well. A big thank you to Una for all her hard work in organising this special day.

Cape Town

OUTsurance’s GunRun

On October 11th, Dr Katherine Sorsdahl who has helped us on Research and Monitoring and Evaluation of our projects for many years ran in OUTsurance’s annual GunRun in Cape Town to help SADAG keep the suicide lines up and RUNNING. She was joined by 8 others who all ran to raise funds for SADAG. In their bright purple they weren’t easily missed. Thanks to all those SADAG members and support group leaders who joined her – well done and we’re glad you all survived! It was the first of this kind of running to raise funds for us and we are so pleased that we had Katherine to organise it for us.

Diane Mallaby’s Dealing with Panic Workshop

The Dealing with Panic Workshop on Saturday went off very well and was attended by 31 people. Dr Hitzeroth, spoke in layman's terms and it was well understood by all. It also clarified to all the attendees what CBT is and how learning breathing skills can help with a panic attack. Thank you to everyone who helped out, including Natalie (who arranged the venue), Angelique (who set up the power point) and Kay for doing all the admin.


Suzanne Leighton

The Bipolar Bears meeting focused on the way forward for the group and clarified what everyone expected. This was done to ensures that the “structure” of the group keeps in line with the growing needs of the group as it changes with time. Methods were discussed to trying and satisfy all present and it was decided that after the regular group sharing we will try having a longer informal time with tea as people say that this is when the meaningful connections happen. It was noticed that in the discussion everyone said what frustrated them as well as what they wanted and needed. Knowing what one wants is the first step to getting it. The materials and ribbons sent by SADAG were well received and made the day special.


Frances Crous

The tenth of October was a lovely day for Worcester. The group held an exhibit in the De la Bat School Hall. The theme for the day was: Emotions". The exhibition was in the form of poems, photos and pictures. Different organisations joined in, like FAMSA, The Pines Clinic, The De la Bat School (which is also the Institute for the Deaf in Worcester), Eden school and psychologist Mr Pieter Visagie. Our Support Group Members had an exhibition as well.

“We, as a group, worked together with Bill Skinner as our team leader everybody pulled their weight. I also got donations from different business men in town and in Ceres. Overall it was a very successful day.” Frances Crous.


Wynand Theron had a wonderful day. They had a panel of 5 therapists - a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, reverend, and a counsellor who works with alcoholics and rehabilitated alcoholics. To break the ice, Wynand asked each therapist a question regarding their respective fields of expertise. In answering these questions, more questions came from the floor and a lively and fruitful discussion followed. About 55 people attended. Again, it was a wonderful turnout for a small area. It was really a fantastic day and a lot of goodwill "bubbled-up" - especially with some of the previously disadvantaged people. We are sure that you have started something of which much fruit will be reaped in future.



Judys group watched the “Out of the shadows” DVD which was an eye-opener for the attendees. The DVD show-cased real life experiences of people with mental illnesses. What was so encouraging was that those who attended saw that they weren’t alone – other people, in other countries, knew how they felt and what they were going through. A local doctor volunteered her time for the morning and the group was so grateful. “To you, our dear doctor, we thank you. I know your time is precious, but you viewed those who attended as precious.” It will help add numbers to our group and make it stronger. - Judy


Emma’s group did a speaking book presentation and then the psychologist Mr. Makena spoke on suicide, depression, stress, anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar followed by Sister Fakude from the wellness clinic, who discussed the links between depression, HIV and AIDS and suicide. 25 members of the community and 14 Support Group members attended. Members of a TB support group and members from an HIV group also attended. Questions were asked about Bipolar Disorder and signs of suicide that they could look out for. The prison has subsequently requested talks about depression and suicide for prisoners and correctional facility officials.

Eastern Cape


Grahamstown's World Mental Health Day event took place at 10am in the Public Library Hall. The guest speaker was Miss Sarah Green from the Rhodes Counselling Centre, who spoke mainly about depression: how to recognise it and where to get help in Grahamstown. The question and answer session was very interesting, especially as one guest mentioned the effect of "Westernization" on the traditional family-orientated Xhosa culture and how she feels that this has led to an increase in depression within those societies. Thank you Jo de la Mare for your hard work. We know that the impact was great.

Port Elizabeth

Deidre Burjins

The group basically decided to have a discussion around the stigma and discrimination attached to being a depression or anxiety sufferer and the rejection from family and the community at large. This was very helpful particularly to new members. The group members were also able to explore coping strategies amongst each other and we had new members who had not been to us previously.

Free State


The Bloemfontein support group held a special event at Bloemcare Hospital for World Mental Health Day. Two expert guest speakers - Dr Gert van Niekerk and Dr Ronel van Der Watt, both local psychologists, addressed the group and provided plenty of helpful food for thought. A lucky prize draw was held, and one of the audience won a Good Mood Food cookbook! Bloemcare Hospital and staff kindly provided a festive atmosphere with orange balloons, cooldrinks and cupcakes, while SADAG's brochures and pamphlets were distributed among all who were interested, making the morning worthwhile and memorable. A great day, Naledi many thanks.


Sannet’s Saturday morning group, of around 20 people, watched the Bipolar DVD “Out of the shadows” and then had a discussion with a psychologist about depression and how to cope with it. After the discussion they put together a colour chart which described how different colours are linked with emotion. The group then did bead work with positive colours to represent good emotions. Sounds like a lot of fun! So many great ideas came out of October 10th.


27 people attended Mahole’s group during which he presented a talk on suicide, phobias and stress. He got a very positive response from the crowd. The talk turned into a discussion about their views on mental health, how they felt about it and their experiences with it. Everyone really enjoyed themselves and have requested more talks and not to just wait until next October.

Kwa-Zulu Natal

Nicky Leigh

Many thanks for mentioning this event on your SADAG website it was much appreciated.

The Art Exhibition in conjunction with the mood disorder talks was a great success. So many people came to the Saturday talks that we couldn’t fit them in the lecture theatre so had to do the talks again (at the same time in another room) Luckily all our speakers were happy to do their talk a second time. Our thanks to Dr Stewart Lund, Dr Maria Dobreva, Prof. Graham Lindegger, Mr Floss Mitchell, Ms Shevonne Rautenbach and Mr Tim Barry, your time is very valuable and we really appreciate them being with us. I estimate that there were about 200 people who attended. The talks were free of charge and we were able to offer free tea and eats as well. Our thanks to the pharmaceutical companies who sponsored the event, Cheryl Prior of Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals, who helped me with organisation and sponsorship. Thanks also the other sponsors, Astra Zeneca, Aspen and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, all their local teams were so helpful.

All the speakers were phenomenal and people have expressed much gratitude and appreciation for the talks and exhibition. I have received emails from people expressing how much it means to them and how this is helping to de-stigmatize mental illness. Here are some excerpts from the emails I have received.

"Once again, just know you have helped a vast number of people out there, and you have brought enormous glory to our amazing God who KNOWS and CARES about the deepest of emotions and longs for all His creation to know that He knows."

You have done such a good thing for the citizens of PMB who have been
battered by anxiety, depression etc! I keep hearing wonderful things
from all sorts of unexpected people who have been touched by your work
and by the talks you organised. One client of mine has had a big breakthrough through seeing your work and chatting to you. The combination of art, honesty, faith and your warm personality, have helped her so much

"I have heard via the grape vine that the lectures on Saturday were an overwhelming success. Well done for initiating the whole idea and I'm glad it worked out so well. Your willingness to share your experiences has really helped to reduce the shame and stigma around mental illness."

"Really want to say that I think you performed a profound service in your recent exhibition and related lectures. A unique, magnificent and widely beneficial initiative. For me, particularly Graham Lindegger on Depression, Faith and Art was stupendous"

"A quick note to compliment you on the most amazing morning you organised on Saturday - I am so pleased I took the time to attend. I found your work extremely touching and moving and gave such a graphic understanding of depression. The speakers were phenomenal - each gave so much insight - and, judging by the turn out, it was what a lot of people needed. I find your courage and motivation an inspiration. You've certainly done a great deal to highlight and create an awareness of depression."

"Thank you so much for organising such an important workshop. Mood disorders hold such a stigma in society and there are so many misconceptions out there, that the more we have of these types of workshops the better."

It has worked very well to have an exhibition of artwork in conjunction with the talks. I wrote explanations about some of the works and displayed them alongside the work. The explanation helped people to understand my mental state, many of the artworks were done while I was in hospital with clinical depression. A blind woman who came to the exhibition had someone describe the works to her and she was very moved. Wow! This is the kind of feedback artists live for. There has been a demand from people for more of these talks. Luckily all the lectures were filmed so am putting a DVD together.


Sihle’s group had over 50 people in attendance, consisting of a mixture of teens and adults. The group watched the Living with Bipolar DVD, and then discussed it afterwards where everyone contributed. They then discussed depression, by going through the information in the brochures. Everyone enjoyed the DVD. There were many interesting questions and some regarding the differences between Bipolar and ADHD. The group requested more talks to be held in the future.


World Mental Health day was a great success in Howick. Over 85 people attended which is absolutely amazing in a place that is so small. Psychologist Alistair Mork-Chadwick was present to answer questions. The turnout was unusual in that there were nearly as many men as women, despite the stigma attached, which often keeps men away from such meetings. The DVD “Real Men – Real Depression” was extremely well received and there were LOTS of questions afterwards. Plans are in the pipeline for the DVD to be made available to other members of the community. Well done to Phyllis and thank you for your energy and enthusiasm we are sure you have helped a lot of men and women in Howick!


Joy Chiang- Workshop on Teen Suicide Prevention

The Workshop held on Teen suicide Prevention at the University of KwaZulu Natal was the first of its kind to be held in this province. A blend of school teachers, professionals (Psychologists and psychology students), a large group from the Open Door Centre in Pinetown, the Durban North Umhlanga Crisis Team and one member from SOLOS attended. The group was fortunate to also have some members of the press present.

All went well despite the AV equipment malfunctioning, but this was overlooked as during this time people made valuable contacts with each other. The workshop was a huge success with over 50 people present.

Thank you to Professor Schelbusch and Professor Laisch for presenting, and all the staff of SADAG with the organizing and making this workshop a reality. We are certain that everyone who attended left with valuable information and will share what they have learnt.



Rita had a full group, with approximately 60 people in attendance. This was a very good turnout considering the size of the area. The topic of discussion was emotional burnout and was presented by Pastor and Clinical Psychologist Dr Van Wyk. The group asked a lot of questions, regarding alternatives to psychologists when one can not afford pay for treatment. People requested more talks on depression and bipolar. Pamphlets and brochures were given out and everyone was very interested in coming to more meetings and felt that they had learnt a lot.

North West


Tsietsi’s group had more than 50 people attending, where a counsellor spoke about Bipolar disorder and the stigma surrounding it. The group was very interested and wanted more information about this mental illness. Many pamphlets were handed out and the information on the brochures was discussed. Bipolar is not an easily understood disorder so one can understand why the group had many questions. A follow up group is being scheduled to discuss more on this topic.

Northern Cape


Yvette’s group had guest speaker psychologist Allan Robertson speak about stereotypes, stigma and advocacy. The group discussed mental illness and how to support one another, each person shared their own experiences and how they learnt to cope. 22 people attended the group including a woman from the Department of Health who wanted to see what the group was involved in. The group felt they needed more open sessions like this one, where each person could discuss how they could learn to cope with day to day life. A follow up session is being planned.


World Mental Health Day became a two-day event in Swaziland. The Mbabane Mental Health Support Group took the lead in an educational outreach event on the day itself, as well as participating in the official national celebrations the day prior to world mental health day. The national celebrations took place on Friday, October 9 in the small town of Mankayane in central Swaziland where Officials from the Ministry of Health, the WHO Representative, the country’s only psychiatrist, Dr Walter Mangezi, the Matron from the National Psychiatric Centre and members of staff from the Mankayane Hospital contributed to the event. All speakers recognized the growing incidence of mental illness and the need to increase resources to deal with this challenge.

The Director of Medical Services assured the audience that the Ministry of Health did indeed take the matter seriously and plans are being made to allocate more resources to psychiatric services in Swaziland. The need for half-way houses and appropriately equipped clinics was also highlighted by the speakers as a large proportion of the population live in the rural areas and do not have ready access to psychiatric services. Mbabane Mental Health Support Group leader, Denise Mortlock, was invited by the Ministry of Health to speak at the occasion, and used the opportunity to encourage others to start up support groups in their own regions.

Mbabane Mental Health Support Group Education Outreach was held on Saturday, October 10 in a busy shopping Mall in Mbabane to educate the public about mental illness and to help remove the stigma that surrounds the mentally ill. Members of the Support Group, a clinical psychologist and two members of staff from the National Psychiatric Centre came along to hand out educational materials and to help answer questions from the general public. Along with educational materials, invitations were extended to all who showed interest to attend the regular Mbabane Mental Health Support Group Meeting. The occasion also provided an opportunity for networking with others who, either on an individual basis or through NGOs, working with those affected by mental illness or working in areas where fuller education on mental illness is desirable.

Due to popular demand, Dr Colinda Linde agreed to hold another panic workshop for World Mental Health Day. The workshop was extremely successful and was immensely enjoyed by everyone that attended. The 2 hour workshop became a 3 hour workshop as there were so many questions about panic and anxiety. Dr Linde taught the audience how to cope with a panic attack, giving them many practical steps to use. The information given was useful to both the patient and family member. We would like to send a special thanks to Dr Colinda Linde for taking the time to present this workshop once again for us, and to the SADAG helpers, Chevonne, Chad and Monique for their effort.

of Safety at Siyabuswa "C". Among the people who attended, were the two guest speakers Ms Lindi Machika who is employed by the Mpumalanga Government’s Health Department (Psychological services) and Ms Agnes Matlhaela who is the principal of Khayelihle Pre School. Ms Matlhaela presented a talk on depression in young children and teenage suicide and Ms Machika talked about undocumented symptoms of depression. Ms Machika discussed a case study about a patient who insisted to the nurses that she had a tumour under her armpit and also insisted on a surgery to remove it, the doctors and the nurses gave her relevant drugs and cognitive therapies. Lastly tests were performed to ensure whether there was any tumour, instead there was nothing and currently the patient is healed.


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