SOME of the people, young and old, who took part in the Psychwell Mental Health Walkathon at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital. Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)
DON’T forget to check in - not just on your social media posts, but on your loved ones - because you never know how you could possibly save a life.

This was the stirring message by Dr Matthews Katjene to participants of the Psychwell Mental Health Walkathon at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital yesterday morning.

The aim of the walk was to raise awareness about mental health and end the stigma around it.

Katjene said although exercise, good nutrition, sound sleep and medication could help manage mental health, it was the “talking and offloading” that played an integral part in finding a wider solution.

He said today’s generation had lost touch with the ancient ways of genuine communication and was communicating “virtually”.

“Our phones and social media have just made it worse. We are too fixated on ourselves and how the world views us that we even forget to check in on our loved ones.”

Katjene said in the past, men used to meet at the kraal to offload and talk through their problems.

“It was a safe space for them to be genuine and honest with other men about their depression and solutions would also be given,” he said.

Today’s generation were overly self-concerned about the public perception that they virtually lived past each other.

The 5km and 10km walk started in the early morning inside the hospital premises. Participants included staff from PsychWell - a company which offers varied clinical and industrial psychology assistance, staff from Weskoppies and the general public.

Katjene said people had to have that one friend to call when their lives were falling apart, even when they seemed to have it all together - a great job, a great living situation and a great group of friends.

“The person you check in with has to be honest and transparent enough for you to help them. They must let their guard down.”