Rachel Kolisi on her mental health battles and self-harming
Rachel Kolisi, entrepreneur and wife of Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, has opened up about her battle with depression and teen suicide attempt.
In an interview with Mpoomy Ledwaba on her Wisdom & Wellness podcast, Kolisi opened up about her mental health battles in her teen years and how she spent two to three years cutting herself as a cry for help.
“I was in a hole and I wished that someone would drop a ladder or a rope. I tried to commit suicide when I was 15. So I spent about two to three years cutting myself and crying for help but not finding it,” she said.
Statistics released in May 2019 by The World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed that globally, an estimated 264 million people suffer from depression, which is one of the leading causes of disability.
Research also reveals that over 40% of people living with HIV in South Africa have a diagnosable mental disorder.
A study done by UCT’s Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health indicates that, in low-income and informal settlements surrounding Cape Town, one in three women suffers from postnatal depression, while research from rural KwaZulu-Natal shows that 41% of pregnant women are depressed – more than three times higher than the prevalence in developed countries.
Kolisi opening up about mental health comes at a time where experts are worried about the mental state of many South Africans.
According to The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag), the impact of Covid-19 and its lockdown restrictions has led to an increase in the number of calls that the organisation has been receiving from people showing signs of depression. Making such conversation important in fighting stigma around mental health.
She also shared how her parents’ divorce affected her and how she carried it into her adult years.
“I felt led to share my story about depression and that journey. My parents went through a really bad divorce and this is just my personal story. I know everyone’s struggles are different.
“With my parents’ divorce was very challenging. I lost my way so much and found myself sometimes in not healthy friendship groups. They’d be like if you are having a tough day let’s have a drink or smoke and that’s the environment I found myself in and it spiralled. Depression does that, it does that to a person where you are like ‘I’m not depressed, I’m fine.’”
Although she has overcome many of her mental health battles, she is still going to therapy. “I’m a strong believer in therapy. Even in marriage. You don’t have to see someone only when your marriage is a mess. I’m an advocate of therapy.”
If you or any of your loved ones are struggling with mental health issues, talk to someone and ask for help.
Sadag has a mental health line on 011 234 4837, and an online toolkit on www.sadag.org, with free resources, online videos, reliable resources, coping skills, online tools and info on social distancing, self-isolation, etc.
Chat online with a counsellor seven days a week from 9am-4pm via the Cipla Whatsapp chat line on 076 882 2775.