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Lockdown adding to mental health challenges in SA

Lockdown is causing feelings of stress and anxiety
Lockdown is causing feelings of stress and anxiety
Image: 123RF

Anxiety, panic, depression, financial stress and pressure are among the top mental health challenges experienced by South Africans during lockdown.

This is according to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group's (Sadag) online survey findings on Covid-19 and mental health. According to the survey, 55% of people are suffering from anxiety and panic, 46% financial stress and pressure, 40% depression, 30% poor family relations, 12% feelings of suicide and 6% substance abuse.

Sadag's operations director Cassey Chambers said the online survey on mental health was conducted via various online platforms and within 10 days there were over 10 participants who completed the short 7-minute survey asking participants about their home life, and their mental health before and during lockdown.

"Covid-19 and the lockdown has affected many South Africans and it has a serious impact on people living with a mental health issue often making their symptoms more heightened. Sadag has been receiving calls from people with no history of anxiety or depression who are feeling overwhelmed, anxious and stressed," Chambers said.

She said the majority of respondents were from Gauteng which accounted for 60%, while 17% were from the Western Cape. Chambers said Sadag has been encouraging people to use reliable sources of information on Covid-19 to help alleviate the fear, misinformation and fake news that can create anxiety and stress.

There is also a concern for people living with schizophrenia. According to Schizophrenia 24x7, people living with schizophrenia already struggle with being stigmatised and complicated psychological health issues and isolation could add to their vulnerable state.

"To assist people living with schizophrenia, they should maintain a daily routine, reduce social media and news consumption. They should also stay active and take their medication," .

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