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Mental Health Awareness & “HOPEtober”

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The month of October has been declared Mental Health Awareness Month with the objective of not only educating the public about mental health but also to reduce the stigma and discrimination that people with mental illness are often subjected to. Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse and job stress are common, affecting individuals, their families and co-workers, and the broader community.

Very few South Africans seek treatment for their mental disorders. Mental illness can be treated at your nearest clinic, hospital or healthcare provider.

Mental health problems are the result of a complex interplay between biological, psychological, social and environmental factors. There is increasing evidence that both the content and context of work can play a role in the development of mental health problems in the workplace.

Key factors include:


Social & Environmental

  • workload (both excessive and insufficient work)
  • lack of participation and control in the workplace
  • monotonous or unpleasant tasks
  • role ambiguity or conflict
  • lack of recognition at work
  • inequity
  • poor interpersonal relationships
  • poor working conditions
  • poor leadership and communication
  • conflicting home and work demands.
environment image


  • Genetics
  • Prenatal damage
  • Infections,
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Brain defects or injuries
  • Substance abuse.
depression image


  • Schizophrenia
  • Dementia
  • Depressive disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Post traumatic stress disorder

Whilst the workplace can contribute positively to a person’s mental health, it may also exacerbate an existing problem, or may contribute to the development of a mental health problem. Employers should put in place programmes to promote the mental health of workers, and to ensure that mental health problems are recognised early and treated effectively.

An estimated 400 million people worldwide suffer from mental or neurological disorders or from psychosocial problems.

Like physical disorders mental and brain disorders vary in severity. There are those that are:

  • Transient (like an acute stress disorder)
  • Periodic (like bipolar disorder, characterised by periods of exaggerated elation followed by periods of depression)
  • Long-lasting and progressive (like Alzheimer’s disease)
Along with this, and as South Africa slowly eases out of the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting difficult challenges on people from all walks of life, never mind the ongoing load shedding and water situation and threats of war in Europe,  the idea of dedicating October 2022 as a month of hope for all South Africans led to the creation of “HOPEtober”, an initiative from Adcock Ingram OTC Sponsors of Brave to encourage people to work towards restoring hope through acts of kindness to fellow citizens.
The simplest of gestures such as a wave or a greeting could change someone’s day.
In these uncertain and often frightening times we all need hope. Our lives have been affected in so many ways. By trying new skills or creating opportunities we are cultivating hope in our individual lives which positively affects those around us and those around them. From chefs making candles and personal trainers tutoring children to professionals packing food parcels there are so many ways to spread hope throughout South Africa this October and in the months following.
Watch this video below for inspiration

In Summary

Mental illness can be treated and prevented. If you suspect a mental illness, visit your nearest clinic, doctor or healthcare practitioner. You are not alone and never be scared to ask for help.

Through HOPEtober, Balanced Healing is reaching out and asking you to join them by lifting the spirits of those around you, sharing hope through kindness.

A wave to those on board the HOPEtober bus, is a great start, they will be counting on you to share hope throughout HOPEtober.



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