By: Natasha Archary
Midday Joy with Unathi invited Clinical Psychologist Anele Siswana for a mental health check-in.
With the country being moved to alert Level 1 and lockdown restrictions easing, many are struggling to navigate the new normal. As much as this brings some relief after 18-months of social distancing and isolation, it can be overwhelming.
Unathi strongly advocates normalising going to therapy and talking about mental health. The singer and lunchtime radio host has previously shared that she was once in a very dark place.
“There were times I would rock up in my onesie with slippers on and I’d throw a tracksuit over to seem as if I made an effort, which I clearly couldn’t at my lowest of lows. There were times I would rock up stinking of alcohol from the night before, I am sure I have sat on my therapists sofa still drunk from the night before. BUT through it all I knew I would love the woman I was working on becoming BECAUSE I knew she deserved to be happy. Which I deeply am today.”
The pandemic has had an impact on literally everyone, from all walks of life, across the world. Since Covid-19 swept the world, mental health statistics have reached record highs.
Whether you have been affected by the loss of a loved one or income, it has been a season of immense loss, isolation, fear and anxiety.
Anele spoke about the trauma that loss brings which pushed many people into post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
The effects of Covid-19
Talking about some of the experiences he’s had to deal with from people who went through divorces, losing their houses, cars, jobs, a loved one, the reality is that the pandemic took a toll on everyone.
He spoke about the adjustments that children had to make too, and how in focusing on how life changed for themselves many parents forget that little ones had to adapt too.
From being homeschooled to relearning everything they have been taught about socialising, little lives were also turned upside down.
A valid point was that many people don’t have the emotional capacity to deal with their own mental health first and when you’re a parent it’s even harder. Prioritising your family’s needs above yours means you’re often pouring from an empty cup.
Now researchers have suggested that the after effects of the pandemic may linger around long after. Many companies have implemented workshops to help employees transition back to the office environment after almost 2-years of remote working.
According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) 65% of over 1200 people surveyed felt stressed throughout the various stages of lockdown. 38% of the respondents were not employed or had lost their jobs as a result of the lockdowns which was first implemented in March 2020.
Anele said there’s still stigma attached to therapy for a lot of black people who associate it with negative connotations. He urges black men especially to stop feeling like they should have it all together all the time.
Having a regular mental health check-in can help deal with overwhelming feelings of fear, anxiety and depression.
Listen to the full conversation with Anele Siswana on Midday Joy with Unathi: