The City of Cape Town’s Health Department is shining a light on emotional, psychological and social well-being during Mental Health Awareness Month, especially during the pandemic and is encouraging residents to make use of the mental health services at its clinics.
‘The pandemic has played havoc with day to day lives, the things that anchor us such as our families and jobs, and has caused emotional upheaval as we navigated through periods when loved ones may have gotten sick or succumbed to Covid-19.
‘Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. It’s important through all our life stages and during October the focus is on mental health,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Zahid Badroodien.
Between April and September this year 2 102 people made mental health visits to City clinics, while 1 954 made use of substance abuse programmes between January and September this year.
Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:
- Biological factors, such as other chronic illnesses or substance use
- Life experiences, such as trauma, abuse, stress from work and now social stressors brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic
- A family history of mental health problems may predispose you to mental illness
‘Our emotional and mental health is a vital part of our lives and it can promote productivity and effectiveness. Being mentally healthy also helps us deal with life’s ups and downs. We all need help and support at some point, and the City provides some services to help our residents,’ said Councillor Badroodien.
City Health provides mental health services at the clinics listed below. The clinical psychology and psychiatry services are by appointment. The Matrix substance abuse rehabilitation service offers a walk-in outpatient service.
|Sub-district||Clinical psychology service (City Health)||Psychiatry service
(outreach by Western Cape Department of Health)
|Western||Albow Gardens CDC
|Albow Gardens CDC||Albow Gardens
|Tygerberg||St Vincent CDC
Delft South Clinic
|Delft South Clinic|
Fish Hoek Clinic
|Mitchells Plain||Weltevreden Valley Clinic||Tafelsig CDC||Tafelsig CDC|
Matthew Goniwe CDC
|Town Two CDC|
|Eastern||Dr Ivan Toms CDC
|Sir Lowry’s Pass CDC||Eerste River Clinic|
If you are unable to get to one of the listed facilities, you can call The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) on 011 234 4837 or 0800 20 50 26 and speak to a trained counsellor. Alternatively, send an SMS to 31393 or visit the SADAG website https://www.sadag.org .The service is available 7 days a week from 8:00 – 20:00.
The SADAG Suicide Helpline 0800 567 567 is available 24 hours a day.
How to improve and maintain your mental health:
- get plenty of sleep
- eat healthy foods
- avoid alcohol, smoking and drugs
- get plenty of sunlight
- manage work and personal stress
- get adequate physical activity and exercise
- make time for activities you enjoy
- connect with others and be sociable
- seek professional help
- get informed from reliable health authority sources
- be selective of the content you watch, read or follow on social media, television and print media.
Mental illness may present in different ways for different people. The most common mental illnesses are depression and anxiety.
Some symptoms of depression or anxiety may include:
- little interest or pleasure in tasks or activities
- feeling sad, depressed or hopeless
- fatigue or loss of energy
- disturbed sleep – too little or too much
- change in appetite or weight
- feeling guilty or worthless
- reduced concentration or difficulty making decisions
- thoughts or plans of suicide or harming yourself
- feeling nervous, anxious or on edge
- feeling restless or agitated
- not being able to stop or control worrying
People with mental health illnesses can get better with proper care and support and many recover completely.
Care for mental illness includes social support through social workers and community workers, psychological support through counselling, and medical care through treatment with medication.
Rehabilitation from substance abuse also is a vital part of treatment for mental illnesses caused or aggravated by substance use. If you are suffering from symptoms of mental illness, speak to your health care worker, who can give you advice and information on how you can receive a proper assessment and care.