Inanda man’s disappearance raises mental health worries

Published Mar 5, 2024



Durban — A family in Inanda is in distress as they desperately search for 24-year-old Akhonamandla Gumede, who went missing on Friday.

Gumede, a matric pupil at Ziphembeleni Secondary School, reportedly burnt his school uniform, exercise books, and all his school belongings at home when no one was present, according to his mother, Nokubonga Gumede.

She was at work at the time of the incident. Akhonamandla left a note behind for his family. In it he thanked them for everything they have done for him.

Gumede now hopes to find him safe and in good health. He was last seen in KwaMashu.

“I think he might have been depressed for a long time. Whatever happened in school really triggered his emotions. Akhonamandla is unable to control his anger.

“Whoever sees him can call us, even if they send a callback. We will do whatever it takes to get back to them. I have walked a long distance with my boy. I have big plans and expectations for him as a parent to see his future grow. I never expected to go through this,” said Gumede.

A missing person’s report was made at the Ndwedwe SAPS.

Meanwhile, Sapien Labs’ fourth annual Mental State of the World Report reveals that South Africa has some of the worst mental well-being outcomes of any of the 71 countries surveyed.

It is revealed that with a mental health quotient of 50, the country ranks 69 out of 71 countries and has the greatest percentage of distressed or struggling respondents (35%).

The report’s findings show that there has been no improvement in mental well-being after the pandemic, with levels remaining below pre-pandemic levels.

Those over 65-year-olds saw stable mental wellness during the Covid-19 epidemic, whereas younger generations, especially those under 35, had the sharpest declines.

Many Latin American and African countries lead the rankings, while much of the core Anglosphere is in the lowest quartile.

Some of the probable consequences include the continuation of remote employment, online communication, fewer in-person social interactions, processed foods, and the proliferation of single-use plastics.

It is reported that more than 500 000 respondents across nine regions and 71 countries were surveyed (seven new this year), and 13 languages were included (four new).

Findings utilise the Global Mind Project’s mental health quotient.

On the other end, Brazil, South Africa, and the UK all show the greatest proportion of respondents who are distressed or struggling, ranging from 34-35%. The percentage of respondents who report being distressed or struggling, or average MHQ ratings, have not changed significantly from 2022 to most of the 64 recurring countries.

Of all the countries, just nine had a change in MHQ scores from the previous year of more than ±2%, and none had a change of more than ±2.9%.

The proportion of those who were distressed or struggling remained mostly unchanged. With the largest change, only three countries had a change of more than ±1.5%.

Reduced familial ties were the third reason included in the report from the previous year.

“For example, across a sample of 407 959 respondents, we found that 10% of 18- to 24-year-olds did not get along with any of their family and preferred not to see them, compared to only 3% of the oldest generation.

“At the same time, the risk of mental health challenges in adulthood is four times lower if you have close family relationships.

“We point out again that the mental well-being scores reflect human ability to navigate the normal stresses of life and to function in a productive way.”

If you have seen Akhonamandla, contact Mengi Ngcobo on 0837975633 or Gumede on 067 265 8803.

WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995.

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