Are we taking depression as seriously as we should in South Africa?
4 Oct 2018 HEALTH & WELLNESS
By Zuko Komisa
In our workspaces, schools, churches, and homes where is a safe place for a depressed person to go?
Throughout this entire year, we’ve been hearing numerous stories about the tragic realities of depression and mental health taking the lives of many South Africans.
This stretches from young children to students and adults.
When hearing that a person has chosen to take their life because of depression, we begin asking ourselves ‘Why did they not get help?’, ‘Who knew about this when she was alive’?, ‘What triggered this?’ and more. While ignoring the fact that depression is a complicated condition that can affect anyone. Depression comes with eating and sleeping disorders, substance abuse, being socially awkward.
In most cases, it’s very difficult to pick up someone is going through depression. It is at times the happiest person who suffers from it the most, making it hard to offer help. In many cultures, a man is never expected to be depressed, they need to be strong a figure their lives out.
According to SADAG (South African Depression And Anxiety Group), “Depression is a “whole-body” illness, involving your body, mood, and thoughts. It affects the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you think about things. “
All these things happen to that co-worker who never likes being social, that bank teller who helps you with your bank card, that lady you see driving next to you in traffic, that friend who always wants to go clubbing, that sibling who doesn’t like going back home.
It’s important for everyone in society to know about how real depression is if you know someone with signs of depression or suicide you need to help them seek professional help as soon as possible.
Being around a depressed friend has its own disadvantages and at times pulls you into this dark space they find themselves in. It’s important to be a sounding board for them, supporting them through this trying time. There are a few things you can say to someone going through these emotions.
Express how important they are to you.
Ask them if they would like a hug?
Remind them that they are not going crazy.
Say this to them “We are not on this earth to see through one another, but to see one another through.”
Remind them that your support for them is strong and that you will be there throughout their journey.
When someone expresses what they are going through, don’t give them answers, you are not a professionally trained therapist.
Be there for them through listening, sitting with them in silence, surprising them with visits.
Remind them that being depressed is not evidence of personal weakness or something you can’t make disappear by not talking about it.