The Mental Health Dilemma
Not sure if anyone has noticed, but mental health in this beloved country of ours only goes as far as pretending to create awareness. Before you think I’m a Negative Nolwazi I’m going to lay down the numbers because – you know – they don’t lie.
1 in 6 South Africans suffer from a mental illness of sorts. Yes, almost 17% of our nation lives either with anxiety, depression or deals with substance abuse. 17% sounds like an inconsiderable number until you realize that those are people who have identified that they are struggling with an illness.
On top of that we need to consider those who are not a part of the mentioned percentage and dealing with more grave conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar. It does not take a medical doctor to figure out that there must be loads more… well, it does take a medical doctor but you get where I’m going with this.
Okay, now that we know those numbers we can discuss how only 27% of that 17% receives medication for their illness. I may be confusing you so let’s break it down together.
In 2017 the officially recorded population was 57
million (rounded up).
Of that 57 million, only about 10 million have gotten some sort of diagnosis.
Of that 10 million, only about 3 million are on medication – leaving 7 million mentally ill people with no sort of medical attention.
Outside of our identified 10 million who are aware of their condition there are an additional 6 million people who are suspected to be dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Right, so now we’re working with 16 million mentally ill South Africans. You and I know this but, apparently, the government doesn’t because there are only 100 000 beds available in psychiatric hospitals – countrywide!
Those numbers are heavy so there is a very slim chance that you are reading this and you do not suffer from a mental illness or know someone who does. So what do you do with this information? Firstly, seek help. Fighting a mental battle by yourself is the surest way to erase the most precious pieces of yourself slowly.
Write it out, consult family, see a counselor, start a YouTube channel, start running (but run back to your place), and put up a blog – something, anything!!
Finding healthy ways of releasing is the first step to helping yourself. Trust me when I say things will tumble in the right direction from there; only if you allow it.
I know that this is cliché, and I know that you’ve probably heard this a billion times. Well, here it is for the billionth and one – speak up!! Support can be found in the strangest of places; there is truly no need for you to be just a statistic.