Mental Health Awareness – October

In South Africa, October has been declared as Mental Health Awareness month with the objective of not only educating the public about mental health but also to reduce the stigma and discrimination that people with mental illness are often subjected to.

An estimated 400 million people worldwide suffer from mental or neurological disorders or from psychosocial problems. These include disorders related to alcohol and drug abuse.

Like physical disorders mental and brain disorders vary in severity. There are those that are:

  • Transient (like an acute stress disorder)
  • Periodic (like bipolar disorder, characterised by periods of exaggerated elation followed by periods of depression)
  • Long lasting and progressive (like Alzheimer’s disease)

Other conditions include:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Dementia,
  • Depressive disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Post traumatic stress disorder

Awareness is a form of education.  The more you know, the more power you have. This power can cause a positive effect in our community.  Awareness is key for understanding what mental health is and how families can receive the help they need. Public knowledge is important in accessing community resources.

Source: SA Government, Dept of Health.

 

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