Neelam Rahim | firstname.lastname@example.org
17 May 2023 | 16:48 CAT
A new study on mental health has shown that almost half of Johannesburg students screened positive for depression. It’s a major mental illness that essentially goes undiagnosed. The study put the lifetime risk of depression at 10%. This makes depression one of the most common mental illnesses.
Speaking to Radio Islam International, a Board member of the South African Society of Psychiatrists, Dr Alicia Porter, explains that depression is a mood disorder coupled with a low mood and decreased interest in activities one used to enjoy.
She said the diagnostic criteria show the loss of pleasure and low mood for at least two weeks. In children or adolescents, a decline in academic performance, difficulty with appetite, energy levels, and feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and hopelessness are signs and symptoms that may suggest an underlying connection to depression.
No human is equally happy all the time, with the distinguishing factor between general stress and moodiness and actual depression impacts on average levels of functioning.
Highlighting her assessment on the levels of depression amongst students, South African Depression and Anxiety Group or SADAG’s Vanisha Gordhan said many students are seen experiencing the signs and symptoms of depression but don’t often know what it means or what they should do with it.
She said many more students have reached out during the Covid period, as the years have passed, and many of those students still experience depression.
Meanwhile, by comparison, the stigma of mental health in communities seems to be getting more accessible now than 30 years ago. Gordan said that the narrative is changing, and so much more regarding mental health, depression and anxiety has been discussed.
“Sharing the warning signs and symptoms as well as treatments that are available which allow people to voice their signs and symptoms,” she says.
Listen to the full interview on Sabahul Muslim with Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat.