3 recent disability events in SA

Blind Cricket World Cup 2014

This past weekend, South Africa hosted the Blind Cricket World Cup. The final match took place at the Western Province Cricket Club, where India beat Pakistan to become the world champions. In the semi-finals, Pakistan had beaten England by eight wickets, while India had defeated Sri Lanka by 134 runs.

Unfortunately, the tournament was marred by controversy, as the South African blind cricket team had to borrow uniforms and kit due to lack of funding from Cricket South Africa (CSA), not to mention having to sleep in emergency accommodation. The Blind Cricket SA (BCSA) organisation has now lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, due to the inequality of support, funding and publicity given to them, compared to able-bodied sports teams.

Since 2009, South Africa has celebrated National Disability Rights Awareness Month from 3 November (I only recently found about this – so either I’ve been living under a rock or the national awareness of this should be better). This year’s priority has been finalising the National Disability Rights Policy, which Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini says is at an advanced stage.

Last Wednesday (3 December) was the United Nations (UN) International Day of Persons with Disabilities. It has been observed around the world by the UN since 1992 in order to promote the dignity, rights, well-being and integration of persons with disabilities in society, as well as to improve awareness and understanding of disability issues. The focus of the day this year was on “Sustainable development: The promise of technology” to remove the physical and communication barriers that exclude and marginalise persons with disabilities. Below is a fantastic video about celebrating our achievements. It is part of a series by Adelaide City Council.

5 facts about depression among men in South Africa

At least 20% of South Africans will suffer from a mental illness, like depression, at some point in their lives. The stigma surrounding depression and other mental illnesses has caused many patients, especially men, to feel ashamed and hide their struggle, because they view it as a weakness. It is estimated that 70% of sufferers remain undiagnosed, untreated and unsupported. This can have fatal consequences, as they do not then receive the healthcare that they need.

Here are some of the facts about depression in men:

1) Active discrimination is the most damaging aspect of stigma, along with the misuse of power, labelling and stereotyping. Many men blame and judge themselves for falling short of societal norms on masculinity, resulting in self-stigmatisation that makes them reluctant to seek professional help.

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group

This and more information can be found at SADAG.org

2) Depression causes one to feel out of control and unable to cope with life situations. Many men feel that this undermines their masculinity and they turn to suicide as a way of regaining control. They are a threat not only to themselves, but also to those around them, particularly their family members, who they believe will not be provided for without them.

3) Men often don’t want to deal with the symptoms of depression and instead turn to alcohol, recreational drugs, and risky behaviours, such as reckless driving and unprotected sex.

4) Attempting to suppress their emotions and avoid the underlying psychological issues, some men immerse themselves in escapist behaviour, like overworking, excessive exercise or extreme sports.

5) There are many symptoms of depression that are common to both men and women, such as sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, irritability, exhaustion and lethargy, insomnia or oversleeping, and a change in eating patterns.

If you suspect that a loved one is suffering from depression, probe them a little deeper to help them open up. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the more effectively depression can be treated.

4 reasons to focus on men’s health in South Africa

Day 9 mo

Movember day 9 mo

1) The average life expectancy for South African men is almost four years less than for women.

2) 1 in 6 South African men will be diagnosed with cancer during their lives.

3) Men are five times more likely to commit suicide than women, but are half as likely to seek help for their depression.

4) About 40% of men in South Africa were reported as being overweight or obese in 2013.

The Movember Foundation has published tips and guidelines to help men look after their health and identify danger signs. Please share them and make a donation so that we can work together to keep our men healthy.