The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) says that while many in South Africa celebrate the festive holiday season, many continue to suffer from severe depression and anxiety and actually feel worse during this time – especially the elderly.
SADAG spokesperson, Cassey Chambers explained that anniversaries of deaths, first Christmas celebrations without loved ones, financial strains, unemployment and many other socioeconomic and personal relationship issues and stresses can lead to increased depression over the festive season. She says that SADAG especially receives a significant amount of engagement from the elderly, who feel alone and isolated during this time.
Chambers indicated that the demand for SADAG services continues to increase and urged people to learn more about depression and anxiety in an effort assist and support those within their own families and communities. She says that the support, listening ear and help you can offer people suffering from depression and anxiety can make a great difference to someone feeling helpless and hopeless.
Loneliness is a big issue for many during the festive season, in part due to the nature of celebrations as well as the activity and marketing during this time.
“For anyone who is in a dark space and feels so desperate or helpless that they’re thinking of ending their life, our counsellors are trained for crisis intervention,” said Chambers urging those in need of assistance and support to contact them.
“If you had the flu you’d get help. If you have a broken leg you get help. When you’re feeling that down and depressed and overwhelmed, it’s so important to speak and get support…there is always someone available – especially at SADAG. We’re open throughout the festive season, 24 hours a day.”
“For those feeling all alone, there is help and there is hope.”