Festive season depression hits South Africans

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As millions of South Africans gear up for Christmas festivities, many others are battling with depression.

The South African Anxiety and Depression Group (Sadag) says it is receiving more than 600 calls a day from South Africans struggling with the debilitating symptoms of the illness.

“There are so many different combinations of issues that we see from people calling into the helpline. They may not have family to spend time with, or they may have to work through the holidays, perhaps it’s incredibly stressful and financially straining. But it also could be the first Christmas since the loss of a loved one or the first Christmas you’ve been divorced or separated or after a break-up. There are so many different issues that people are experiencing – that for many, it’s not about the Merry Christmas or the happy holidays. It can actually be very isolating, very depressing and very sad for a lot of people,” says SADAG Spokesperson Cassey Chambers.

Chambers is urging those struggling with financial problems, loneliness or a sense of loss to reflect on the positive aspects of life.

“It can be really hard when everyone around you, the shops, the TV, everything is about reminding you perhaps what you don’t have or how you not feeling or how you’re not supposed to be feeling. It’s really important that we keep encouraging people that throughout this time that they speak to someone, whether it is over the phone or they speak to a friend or they just go out for a walk. They’re doing small things that will lift their mood and make them feel better over this difficult time.”

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