The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) is a resource many who suffer from mental disorders regularly lean on.
Amid the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus, and a 21-day lockdown, has understandably taken a toll on the most vulnerable members of society, both in terms of physical health, but also mental health.
Sadag has assured citizens it is there to offer help and support to South Africans who feel scared, confused, anxious and overwhelmed.
The Covid-19 pandemic is difficult to escape. It dominates virtually every resource available. Sadag reinforces the sentiment that it is normal to feel fear, panic and anxiety during these uncertain times, and that they remain committed to helping people cope with and manage the added stress of living in the midst of a lockdown.
It is also important for people to know they are not alone.
Sadag offers free online toolkits on their website, complete with online videos, reliable resources, coping mechanisms and information on sometimes confusing topics, such as social distancing and self-isolation.
On Friday, between 1pm and 2pm, and 7pm and 8pm, there will be a free online ‘Ask the Doctor’ chat on Facebook, to answer any questions people may have about their mental health.
People can also SMS 31393 or 32312, and a counsellor available 24 hours a day will call them back.
Telephonic counselling, information, referrals and resources are also available through Sadag’s helplines, on 0800 21 22 23, 0800 70 80 90, or 0800 456 789. The suicide helpline is also available, on 0800 567 567.
“In a world that seems pretty scary at the moment, knowing what you can do, can help you feel a little more in control of what is happening in your life today,” said Sadag.
Those who are concerned about their loved ones being overwhelmed with sadness, depression or anxiety can call 0800 456 789 or visit Sadag’s website for self-help tips to manage panic and anxiety.
Some tips include maintaining a daily routine, reducing time spend following Covid-19 through the media, acknowledging that the current situation is out of your control, and taking this time to focus on situations you can control. People are also encouraged to keep busy.
Those worried about not receiving chronic medication are advised to speak to their medical scheme and pharmacist to get scripts filed in advance, and can even arrange for home deliveries.
People who receive regular psychological or psychiatric treatment must call the practice to discuss alternative arrangements, such as online therapy sessions.
“Just as the country has taken the necessary precautions to ensure everyone’s safety – by adopting some of the tips and tools above – we can make sure to look after our own mental health during this time too.”
(Compiled by Nica Schreuder)