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Make mental health matter in 2018

In what may be a taxing year ahead, South Africans are urged to make mental wellbeing a priority. Those hoping for a healthier 2018 need to be looking beyond a fresh diet and exercise routine. All too often, mental health takes a backseat – but a growing body of evidence shows that the state of our minds is intricately linked with that of our bodies.

The stress of going back to work, alongside the familial and financial pressure many face after the festive season may already be putting strain on people’s mental health. “Not addressing these pressures and neglecting mental health can predispose one to various illnesses, as well as negatively impact relationships and performance at home and work,” says Director of Hope House Counselling Centre Judy Strickland.

According to Strickland, there are a number of ways in which one can promote mental wellness. “Setting enough time aside for close friends, practising putting boundaries in place, taking regular short walks and getting plenty of sleep are all ways in which we can boost our mental health,” she says.

Strickland also stresses that seeking the services of a counsellor or therapist can be very beneficial; “Whether under short-term stress or working through a longer-term concern, setting aside time to talk about your mental health with a professional can be helpful.” These services are practiced under the condition of anonymity and practitioners are trained to assist with grief, conflict, relationship, trauma and general stress.

For many South Africans, the cost of therapy is a deterrent and barrier to seeking help. Appointments can cost upwards of R450 an hour, and accessing state services can be difficult to arrange around work and family commitments. This problem inspired Hope House to offer donation-based counselling to everybody, from the age of three and up. “We don’t turn anyone away, but do rely on donations from those who can afford them in order to keep our centres running,” says Strickland.

In addition to their counselling services, Hope House runs substance abuse prevention and intervention programmes in schools across Cape Town and provides training and field work experience for lay counsellors. For more information on Hope House and their three centres, visit www.hopehouse.org.za or book an appointment via info@hopehouse.org.za.

ENDS
406

Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications:
Kirsten Macnab
Kirsten@be-cause.co.za
021 447 1082 / 060 528 5857

On behalf of Hope House:
Director: Judy Strickland

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