never again

1 Christine Nxumalo her sister Virginia Machpelah

Cassey Chambers

Break the silence

“Mental Health is very misunderstood in SA,” says Cassey Chambers Operations Director at SADAG. “Because we often can’t see it, people think that it is not real, or made-up. No-one ever says to someone with high blood ‘snap out of it’, ‘you’ll get over it’. You shouldn’t say that to someone with a mental health illness either. It is important to understand more about mental health, so that people and families know more about symptoms, triggers, treatment options and available support services.”

Only 1 in 10 South African with mental illness have access to treatment.

“ It often takes families time to understand mental illness and our system doesn’t help,” says Dr Talatala, psychiatrist. “Mental health facilities are often busy, overwhelmed and far from where people live. The sad reality is that for many reasons, including stigma and a lack of understanding, money frequently gets moved elsewhere.”

Less than 5% of the National Health Budget is allocated to mental health

Fear and misunderstanding, lead to silence. People with a mental illness often live in fear that they will be treated differently, that their families will reject them and think that they are weak. Shame prevents people with a mental illness and their families from seeking treatment. Treatment could be therapy or counselling, medication or in some cases full-time care.

We must break the silence so that families and people with a mental illness feel confident and safe to seek the help they need to live a fuller life. People living with a mental health issue deserve the same rights and respect as anyone else. They have a right to help and treatment.