Johannesburg - There has been a 'massive' increase in calls to the SA Depression and Anxiety Group due to an increase in awareness about mental illness, the group said on Thursday, Bipolar Awareness Day.
“Last year, there were about 100 calls coming into our call centre a day and this year it's about 400 calls coming in a day,” project manager Roshni Parbhoo-Seetha said on Thursday.
She attributed this to not only an increase in problems, but to an increase in talking about problems such as job losses, debt and mental disorders.
“There is less stigma around mental illness these days people are realising that it is okay to talk about depression and other problems and so they are calling in for assistance.
“For example, a man might lose his job and feel a bit depressed about it and in the past he would probably internalise his feelings and become aggressive... but now he knows he can phone in and talk about what he's feeling.”
She said there were 450,000 people living with bipolar mood disorder in South Africa.
“We have been in the media a lot and have done talks around the country about bipolar... and more people are now acknowledging this illness and finding the right help for it,” she said. - Sapa