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46% of those seeking help are financially stressed during lockdown: Sadag

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) on Thursday said it had received double the number of calls from people feeling anxious and depressed since the start of the nationwide lockdown.

FILE: More than two-thirds of the callers, however, are employed. Picture: 123rf.

CAPE TOWN - While the economic impact of the COVID-19 lockdown is immense, so too is the psychological strain it's taking on many South Africans.

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) on Thursday said it had received double the number of calls from people feeling anxious and depressed since the start of the nationwide lockdown.

A recent survey shows 55% of those seeking help are anxious and 46% are financially stressed.

Before the lockdown, Sadag averaged about 600 calls per day, now it's between 1,200 and 1,400.

The group said most callers were stressed about the spread of COVID-19, finances, job security, grief, gender-based violence, and trauma. The are also concerned about accessing food parcels, social grants, and UIF.

More than two-thirds of the callers, however, are employed.

Sadag's Cassey Chambers said: “What is going to happen to my company in a month's time? With that anxiety all day, it overflows into other areas of your life, which is already stressful.”

President of the Psychological Society of South Africa Garth Stevens said people working from home often exceeded their normal working hours leading to increased levels of stress and fatigue.

“Mornings fades into afternoons and evenings and weekends aren’t differentiated. All of these have significant potential to affect the minds of workers if they aren’t managed.”

These experts have encouraged people to seek help if they feel they need it and suggest that managers make support available to their employees.