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New Mental Health Support Group Leader Training in Soweto

Support Groups provide a safe space for people living with mental illness to
connect, learn and share with others who have been through similar
Mental Illness can make someone feel very misunderstood, lonely and
isolated, especially since there is so much stigma surrounding depression,
anxiety, trauma and bipolar disorder. Support Groups can help break the
stigma and shame associated to mental illness. Being part of a Support Group
provides people with a space where they feel they belong, and are
understood. It also teaches them skills that they can use to cope better
with everyday life.
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), one of the country’s
leading mental health advocacy groups, runs a 22 helpline call center. The
call center receives over 600 calls per day from people around the country
seeking help, information and resources for their mental health issue. Some
of the resources that SADAG offers to callers who have received treatment,
is to join a free Support Group. This is a way to help our callers to
connect with others who have had similar experiences or challenges, to share
helpful resources and self-help tips. It allows them to network and feel
more connected to others who truly understand what it is like to live with a
mental health issue.

SADAG is urging people living in Soweto to think about starting a Support
Group in their community. There is such a need for more support for people
living with mental health issues throughout our country, but especially in
Soweto where currently there is no Support Group for depression or anxiety.

“Joining a Support Group has helped me connect and share with others. It
feels amazing to have a group of people who understand how I’m feeling.”
Says Busisiwe

SADAG has over 200 Support Groups around the country that deal with
depression, anxiety, trauma, chronic illness and bipolar, as well as Support
Groups specifically for family members and loved ones to attend so they too
can share and connect with others to learn how to cope with living with
someone who has a mental illness. “Depression or Anxiety doesn’t only affect
the person, it affects the whole family. So family members and loved ones
can also join, or even start a Support Group to learn more about mental
health, and find ways to support their loved ones,” says Krystle Kemp, SADAG
Support Group Coordinator.

SADAG Support Groups can be run either by members who are living with a
mental illness, or a family member who wants to offer support to other
family members, sometimes they are run by a mental health professional in
the community. These groups allow members the opportunity to form
connections with others experiencing similar troubles and stress. It is a
space where members can learn from one another in a non-judgmental,
confidential space.

“I know there is hope after Depression and one can live a successful life
with any Mental Health issue such as Depression, Anxiety or Bipolar. I would
like to encourage others to seek help and provide a message of hope to
others,” says Support Group Leader, Nono Maseko.

SADAG helps to train Support Group Leaders on running a group step-by-step.
We help with training manuals, advertising the Support Group, finding
venues, materials, guest speakers and posters.

SADAG is hosting a Support Group Leader Training Workshop on Saturday the
28th September in Soweto. If you are interested in starting a Mental Health
Support Group in your area, please contact Senzi or Krystle on 0800 70 80 90
or sms “Support Groups” to 31393 or email

There are so many people living with depression or anxiety that feel alone
and misunderstood – Support Groups are incredibly important to help people
with self-help tips, a safe space to share, and a group to connect with.
Mental illness affects many South Africans, and so many people don’t know
where to go for help or how to cope with depression or anxiety. Support
Groups are a great resource reminding us that there is always hope and that
you are not alone.

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