Cry for help: Sadag receives over 500,000 calls since start of lockdown

The pandemic has had a severe impact on South Africans' mental health, many of the calls made to Sadag were from people suffering from anxiety about their finances, job losses and the wellbeing of their children.

Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Anxiety and Depression Group (Sadag) on Tuesday said it had received over half a million calls from citizens seeking help over the lockdown.

The pandemic has had a severe impact on South Africans' mental health, many of the calls made to Sadag were from people suffering from anxiety about their finances, job losses and the wellbeing of their children.

The NGO now receives on average of 1,400 calls per day, which is up from around 600 before the pandemic.

Sadag's Cassay Chambers said the last year had a severe impact on most households.

“I remember the first day of our hard lockdown was also the first day when we reported our first fatality in South Africa and that seemed to have triggered a lot of people. We saw our call volumes double overnight.”

Clinical psychologist Zamo Mbele said: “I think that we do not have enough understanding and empathy and a lot of parents, who we know statistically being mothers, now had to double up on their jobs. They also now had to be educators and tutors.”

He said the psychological impact had not only been felt by those who lost loved ones during the pandemic.

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