Women's Month: Mental Health (Continued)

Posted by Sanele Michelle Magagula on

Women's Month: Mental Health (Continued)

Today's blog continues the conversation about mental health. Women's month is more than just a celebration of strength. It is also a time to be reminded to take care of ourselves and to recognize that as women we also experience difficulties that need to be acknowledged, understood and addressed. I have compiled some information about common mental and emotional struggles that some women may not even realize they are suffering from. Too many of us are taught that we feel the way we feel because we are women. Some are raised to brush off their emotions and some are shut down at the mention of the word depression. Your emotions are real and when not adequately taken care of they affect your mind, your emotions, your health and also the people around you. Please take the time to read through the information about burn out, anxiety and depression. It may not be you but it might be someone you know of who may need help and not feel the confidence or encouragement to reach out.


If constant stress has you feeling helpless, disillusioned, and completely exhausted, you may be on the road to burnout. When you’re burned out, problems seem insurmountable, everything looks bleak, and it’s difficult to muster up the energy to care, let alone take action to help yourself. The unhappiness and detachment caused by burnout can threaten your job, your relationships, and your health. But by recognizing the earliest warning signs, you can take steps to prevent it. Or if you’ve already hit breaking point, there are plenty of things you can do to regain your balance and start to feel positive and hopeful again.

What is burnout?

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose interest and motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.

Burnout reduces productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.

The negative effects of burnout spill over into every area of life—including your home, work, and social life. Burnout can also cause long-term changes to your body that make you vulnerable to illnesses like colds and flu. Because of its many consequences, it’s important to deal with burnout right away.

Visit helpguide to learn more about burn out



What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal reaction to danger, the body’s automatic fight-or-flight response that is triggered when you feel threatened, under pressure, or are facing a challenging situation, such as a job interview, exam, or first date. In moderation, anxiety isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can help you to stay alert and focused, spur you to action, and motivate you to solve problems. But when anxiety is constant or overwhelming—when worries and fears interfere with your relationships and daily life—you’ve likely crossed the line from normal anxiety into the territory of an anxiety disorder.

More signs and Symptoms

  • Feelings of apprehension or dread
  • Watching for signs of danger
  • Anticipating the worst
  • Feeling tense and jumpy
  • Irritability
  • Feeling like your mind’s gone blank
  • Dizziness
  • Frequent urination or diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle tension or twitches
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Insomnia

 Visit helpguide to learn more about anxiety




What is depression?

A mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.

Depression can impact every area of a woman’s life—including your physical health, social life, relationships, career, and sense of self-worth—and is complicated by factors such as reproductive hormones, social pressures, and the unique female response to stress. However, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Women are about twice as likely as men to suffer from depression but depression is treatable and there are plenty of things you can do to make yourself feel better.

The symptoms of depression in women vary from mild to severe (major depression) and are distinguished by the impact they have on your ability to function.

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. You feel as if nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  • Feeling angry, agitated, restless.

 Women also tend to experience certain depression symptoms and causes more often than men. These include:

  • Depression in the winter months (seasonal affective disorder) due to lower levels of sunlight.
  • Symptoms of atypical depression, where rather than sleeping less, eating less, and losing weight, you experience the opposite: sleeping excessively, eating more (especially refined carbohydrates), and gaining weight.
  • Strong feelings of guilt and worthlessness. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  • Loneliness and isolation; a lack of social support.
  • Family history of depression.
  • Early childhood trauma or abuse.
  • Alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Marital or relationship problems; balancing the pressures of career and home life.
  • Family responsibilities such as caring for children, spouse, or aging parents.
  • Experiencing discrimination at work or not reaching important goals, losing or changing a job, retirement, or embarking on military service.
  • Persistent money problems.
  • Death of a loved one or other stressful life event that leaves you feeling useless, helpless, alone, or profoundly sad.
  • Premenstrual issues
  • Postpartum depression 
  • Response to stress
  • Body image issues
  • Menopause and perimenopause
  • Thyroid problems 
  • Medication side effects

visit helpguide to learn more about depression


 If you or someone you know are exhibiting some of the signs of symptoms above, below are the contact details for organizations that help with mental health issues.

South African depression and anxiety group (SADAG)


If you are needing a referral to a psychologist, psychiatrist or support group, please can you call The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) on 011 234 4837 or 0800 20 50 26 and speak to a trained counselor who can assist you further. 

Or alternatively email Zane on zane@sadag.org

There is also online live counselling on the website



Lifeline counselling number: 0861 322 322


Dr Reddy's Help Line

0800 21 22 23

Cipla 24hr Mental Health Helpline

0800 456 789

Pharmadynamics Police &Trauma Line

0800 20 50 26

Adcock Ingram Depression and Anxiety Helpline

0800 70 80 90

ADHD Helpline

0800 55 44 33

Department of Social Development Substance Abuse Line 24hr helpline

0800 12 13 14

SMS 32312

Suicide Crisis Line

0800 567 567

SADAG Mental Health Line

011 234 4837

Akeso Psychiatric Response Unit 24 Hour

0861 435 787

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