The stigma associated with depression and anxiety is less harsh than it has been in the past, but it still exists. According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group, one third of the South African population suffers from mental disorders – 75% of which will not receive treatment.

Just think about it in the context of needing to ask for time off from work because you’re having panic attacks or explaining that poor performance is due to having a depressive episode that has left you feeling bed-bound and at best, incapable.

It’s World Mental Health Day today and it only seems appropriate to turn the spotlight on depression and anxiety – two of the most common mental disorders millennials are inclined to experience based on the modern struggle for peace of mind.

Self-care is something we all should be practicing every day. Although that seems theoretically sound, the practical side of it isn’t always as easy or simple to apply. It’s weird because the one thing that motivates you to try and keep it all together is sometimes the thing that makes it feel as though it’s all falling apart: sometimes life gets in the way of life. You get caught up in wanting to appear ‘okay’ and sometimes it becomes exhausting, because what you really need to do is take a break in order to go back to genuinely feeling fine.

Self-care reminders:

If today is just not going as planned or if in a few days time you need to read this, just remember:

  1. It’s okay to admit you don’t have everything under control.
  2. You do deserve to feel okay and good, and there is help available out there.
  3. Better days are coming – seek treatment and support from loved ones.
  4. You are not alone.
  5. All the negative thoughts are not you – even though it feels like it is.
  6. Take time to rest – you deserve to be nurtured and that starts with the love you show yourself.
  7. Treat yourself with the kindness you’d show a 5-year-old. It makes more of a difference than you might initially think.

Social media can be a source of help

Social media plays a huge role in the way millennials experience life. Sometimes people think social media contributes to the anxiety they experience – it does – but there are positive avenues to explore within it. There are heaps of forums dedicated to building a sense of self-awareness and taking care of your mental health. On Instagram alone there are several hashtags that promote self-care. You can view them here, here and here.

Who to call

You can get free help by contacting the South African Depression and Anxiety Group on 080 012 131, for yourself or if someone you know is ill. Each conversation we have about mental health is worth having. It’s an opportunity to break down walls and help remove the stigma. For a full list of free mental health resources in South Africa and some videos about the most common ones, head over here.