Depression has no face

When you live with depression, you become very good at hiding your feelings and wearing a mask. Depression doesn’t have a face.

Depression has no face

Sometimes you try hard to overcompensate with exaggerated optimism. At other times you can’t get the energy up to socialise at all and you withdraw completely for a few weeks.

But things will change. You’re not alone. No matter who you are, there are people who care. You will get through the lows, but it’s easier with people supporting you. In the meantime, it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to admit you need help. You’re human.

If you need to talk to someone, call the South African Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837.

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World Suicide Prevention Day 2017

On World Suicide Prevention Day, 10 September 2017, the Movember South Africa Association placed 146 pairs of shoes across Sea Point Promenade in Cape Town. In South Africa, 540 men die by suicide EVERY MONTH. That’s 126 every week or 18 every day. To commemorate them and raise awareness of male mental health issues, The Movember Association invited members of the press to the exhibition to learn about depression in men. These shoes were then donated to the Haven Night Shelter in Cape Town.

World Suicide Prevention Day 2017

The only way to reduce stigma and give men the confidence to seek treatment is to show that it’s okay to not be okay. If you are thinking about suicide, talk to someone. You are not alone. Call the South African Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567.

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.