Johannesburg – The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) says that during Mental Health Month in July, they will be unpacking anxiety disorders to help understand what the many symptoms look like, how to get help, and vital self-help tips.
Clinical Psychologist and Sadag board chairperson, Dr Colinda Linde, says that the state of mental health-care in South Africa was in crisis long before Covid-19.
“We need to ensure that anxiety health care is prioritised across all sectors, provinces, and ages to help meet the growing demand for mental health services,” said Linde.
Sadag founder Zane Wilson struggled for many years with undiagnosed panic disorder, having up to six panic attacks a day, according to the organisation.
“It got so bad that she was unable to drive or even go shopping. After 10 years and many attempts to resolve them, she finally received the correct diagnosis and treatment,” said Sadag.
Wilson got the correct solutions, and she got better much faster than expected.
“Thirty days years later, disorders like Zane’s are much easier to identify and treat, and there are now endless resources that can alleviate people’s suffering,” added Sadag.
Wilson said that starting a Panic Support Group over 30 years ago was a huge undertaking.
“Since then, we have opened many support groups for groups and provided many resources that really have achieved amazing steps forward in providing fast support to people living with panic to help them learn skills,” she said.
This month, Sadag will be collaborating with mental health experts and trained individuals to host a powerful series of online events and campaigns aimed at increasing awareness and reducing the stigma surrounding anxiety disorders.
“We will be covering the following four topics: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social phobia,” said the organisation.
Meanwhile, Murray Hewlett, CEO of health care provider Affinity Health, highlighted some of the signs of depression in men.
Murray said depression can affect anyone, regardless of gender, but research indicates that men may be less likely to seek help or openly discuss their mental health struggles.
According to the health care provider, in South Africa, depression affects approximately one in six individuals at some point in their lives.
They said that for men, there are several factors that contribute to the higher prevalence of depression.
“Societal expectations and traditional gender norms often discourage men from expressing vulnerability or seeking help for emotional difficulties.
“Men may feel pressure to conform to ideals of strength and self-reliance, leading them to downplay or ignore their emotional distress," added Affinity Health.
It was also mentioned that men may experience unique stressors, such as work-related pressures, financial concerns, or relationship challenges, which can contribute to the development of depression.