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More South Africans battling with mental health due to pandemic, survey finds

12 October 2020 5:46 PM
Tags:
Depression
Pharma Dynamics
Mental health
Anxiety
mental wellness
COVID-19
covid-19 pandemic

A survey has found that there has been a significant increase in psychological and emotional stress among South Africans since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pharmaceutical company Pharma Dynamics conducted a national survey to understand how mental wellness has been impacted by the pandemic.

Over 1,200 South African adults were polled for the survey.

About 56% of the respondents reported having higher levels of psychological and emotional distress than before the pandemic.

To deal with the stress, 81% of respondents turned to unhealthy food, 20% to alcohol, 18% to cigarettes, 6% to smoking Cannabis and 22% to antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication to help them cope.

Roughly 65% admitted to neglecting their health, and 52% say they have trouble sleeping.

About 49% of respondents say they feel anxious, 48% frustrated, 31% depressed and a significant, 6%, have contemplated suicide.

Abdurahman Kenny, who manages the mental health portfolio at Pharma Dynamics, says most participants also had personal experiences with Covid-19 that have exacerbated anxiety levels.

As South Africa observes Mental Health Awareness Month in October, Kenny has urged people to seek professional help if their mental health has been adversely affected.

He says symptoms associated with depression and anxiety include trouble sleeping, irritability, no longer enjoying activities that once made you happy, trouble maintaining relationships with loved ones, and substance abuse.

We conducted a survey of 1,200 South Africans from all walks of life, all across South Africa. We asked them various questions about their mental health and the effect that the pandemic is having.

Abdurahman Kenny, Mental Health Portfolio Manager - Pharma Dynamics

More than 50% of the respondents either lost their jobs or had to take a pay cut or were forced to close a business.

Abdurahman Kenny, Mental Health Portfolio Manager - Pharma Dynamics

Many of them had personal experiences with Covid-19. 50% of the respondents knew someone who passed away due to the virus.

Abdurahman Kenny, Mental Health Portfolio Manager - Pharma Dynamics

It's normal for people to have everyday ups and downs, but when it starts affecting you over a long period of time, or if it affects your relationships or your ability to work etc. that's when you should start seeking support through a healthcare professional.

Abdurahman Kenny, Mental Health Portfolio Manager - Pharma Dynamics

If you're struggling to cope, you can call the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) helpline on 0800 205 026 for help.

You can also visit www.letstalkmh.co.za to find useful resources.

Listen to the discussion on Afternoon Drive:




12 October 2020 5:46 PM
Tags:
Depression
Pharma Dynamics
Mental health
Anxiety
mental wellness
COVID-19
covid-19 pandemic

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