It is mental health awareness month and you are invited to a completely free webinar, which you can even attend anonymously.
For many of us, every day is technically mental health awareness day. I’ve chatted about my own struggles at length and have been blessed with many DMs from people telling me they can relate, with that in mind I thought I’d share some important info that popped into my inbox this week.
October is global mental health awareness month and this year the spotlight is turned towards the pandemic and how mental health issues have increased in both children and adults, with the enforced isolation exacerbating an already challenging situation.
According to a recent World Health Organization (WHO) survey conducted in 130 countries, COVID-19 has disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide while the demand for mental health has increased. Considering that prior to the pandemic, the organization found that many countries were spending less than 2% of their national health budgets on mental health and struggling to meet their populations’ needs, the situation could become dire if ignored.
A study conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council during the first hard lockdown reported that 33% of South Africans were depressed, while 45% were fearful, and 29% were experiencing loneliness during the first lockdown period.
According to statistics recently released by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), as many as one in six South Africans suffer from anxiety, depression, or substance-use problems.
Their findings also reveal that adolescent mental health and depression has become of particular concern over the past year due to increased screen time, isolation, extended school closures, limited social interaction with peers, and witnessing how the negative effects of the pandemic on their families.
To support and encourage those suffering with mental health issues and to turn a spotlight on the importance of acknowledging, talking about and destigmatizing mental health, several leading figures have begun to come forward to share their own experiences.
One such leader is Yael Geffen, the CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in South Africa, who suffers from bipolar II and has spoken candidly about her personal journey. She challenges others to do the same.
“It still blows my mind that we are comfortable to talk about cancer, diabetes and cardiac disease and the associated prescribed medication, and yet, despite the horrifying global statistics, we are still so afraid to talk about mental health which should be seen as no different.
Another advocate for mental health is Mandy Herold, who is the Head of the Junior Prep at The Ridge School, an International Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor and The Connection Coach.
Having worked in schools for 20 years, 11 of which have been as the headmistress of a junior prep school (ages 5-9), Mandy believes that mental health needs to be on top of the agenda of every Governing body, Board meeting and staff meeting.
“Ultimately, as a society, we have to start having braver conversations about how we normalise our daily struggles with mental health. It’s okay not to be okay!”
Yael Geffen and Mandy Herold, who are both passionate mental health advocates, have collaborated to open this discussion with a complimentary live webinar discussing their experiences and sharing information and the tools they use to cope with living with mental health challenges.
It will be held on the 27th of October 2021 from 7 pm to 8 pm and all are welcome to attend (anonymous registration available). If you/your family/your colleagues are interested in attending, please register at https://bit.ly/MyBeautifulMind
If you or a loved one is suffering and needs urgent help, please contact SADAG on 0800 456 789.
Article adapted from one submitted by Glenda Thompson of UNoticed PR