Prioritising Mental Health in Our Society
As the world reels from the upending effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, now more than ever, mental health has taken the spotlight and has been dubbed by experts “the shadow pandemic”. And in a country, such as South Africa, where more men take their lives than women, it’s time to get real.
Mental health in men is often overlooked within society and it needs to be given the same attention as other illnesses that affect most people in our communities. There is a need to educate and create awareness while empowering men in our society to create safe spaces to have mental health conversations.
A report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that the global prevalence of anxiety and depression has increased by a massive 25% since the start of the pandemic.
Further to that, Sapien Labs (790KB PDF) released a study highlighting that SA has one of the lowest mental health scores globally. The rate of distressed or struggling men increased by 8%, moving from 28.5% in 2020 to 36% in 2021.
With this insight, Dove Men+Care has partnered with registered Clinical Psychologist, Anele Siswana, to delve deeper into the state, and importance of consciously prioritising mental health and holistic self-care.
According to Anele, prioritising mental health as part of our holistic care means putting your wellness at the forefront and being cognisant of improving one’s self-awareness. A holistic care approach also takes into consideration one’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being.
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) highlights the following stats:
- +/- 23 suicides per day in South Africa and for every successful suicide there are at least 20 attempted suicides.
- Men are four times more likely to die by suicide than women.
“Men are known to shy away from opening up about issues that trouble them due to the social constructs around men’s vulnerability and the idea that men are strong enough to generally cope with everything. What we have failed to understand as a society is that vulnerability, emotions, and psychological pain have no gender. This means men feel and react to emotional pain too,” said Anele Siswana.
Men’s Mental Health Explained
Mental health disorders refer to an array of mental health conditions that affect your behavior; these can also include symptoms such as loss of interest in your daily activities and tasks, low energy, appetite changes, sleep difficulties, being tearful, suicide ideation, anxiety and stress. Mental health disorders include, but are not limited to anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia.
Dealing With Mental Health Disorders
Mental health disorders can be managed with a combination of medication and therapy. Therapy is often seen as taboo in some communities; however, it is a step in the right direction when you are taking control of your mental and emotional wellbeing. Using your social support structure such as friends and family can also be a safe space of healing when addressing and prioritising your wellbeing.
Pro-bono services such as Lifeline & SADAG are available and useful resources to help you confront and take control of your mental health. If you or a friend need this support, we urge you to contact them on the details below:
National Counselling Line: 0861 322 322
To provide additional support, Dove Men+Care started an initiative at the end of 2021 known as Care Conversations which aims to create a safe space for men to engage in conversations around holistic selfcare. The brand is offering men a platform to share and learn about their different experiences when it comes to holistic wellbeing, including grooming. In 2022, the Dove Men+Care aims to grow this initiative and contribute to building a society where men can be heard. Join the conversation by following: