World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October annually, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world . The global theme for this year is on suicide prevention.
#DURBAN: Ahead of World Mental Health Day, there will be a mass walk on October 6 on the Durban beachfront to raise awareness and advocate for improved psychosocial services. Last year 750 people showed their solidary at the walk, so Pillay says they are aiming for 1000 people this year.
This event is being jointly organized by the KZN Mental Health Advocacy Group and the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG).
Coordinator, Suntosh Pillay says they aim to mobilize and bring the community together.
“High profile suicides, such as singer HHP and academic Professor Bongani Mayosi, shocked South Africans and brought home the reality of the stats: 800 000 people die by suicide every year globally. This is a public health emergency, and yet, mental health care services are grossly underfunded in the private and public health system.”
Also, against the backdrop of xenophobia and gender-based violence plaguing our country, the need for psychosocial support services has never been greater”.
“There is no health without mental health; everybody is affected by friends or family who are depressed, anxious, abusing drugs, struggling with grief, or stuck in an abusive relationship. Stigma prevents people from seeking help, so we are hoping that an event out in the open, literally under the sun, will encourage dialogue and the freedom to ask for help,” says Pillay.
Co-organizer, Dr Suvira Ramlall, a specialist psychiatrist, says mental well-being is fundamental to the quality of life.
“This year we adding a wellness fair into the walk, which will include yoga, zumba, aerobics and information stands from local organizations, to promote health. There will also be free health screenings.”
“Walking also has many proven health benefits, boosting your mood and immune system.”Suvira Ramlall, Specialist Psychiatrist
The walk takes place on October 6 at 9am. It is a free, public event starting at the North Beach Amphitheatre opposite the Elangeni Hotel. To register or apply for a stand, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call or SMS 078 261 5080.