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Let’s talk about Mental Health, Moms

March 6, 2017

Moms are superheroes, no doubt. We are the masters in homemaking, we have thriving careers and work long hours, while also making time for our families and friends. Although sadly the latter are more often neglected than not. It is true we can do just about anything we set our minds to; however, we cannot do it alone, because I have learned that it takes a village.

The most bad-ass superheroes have sidekicks and not all wear capes, just so do all moms need a strong support team of family and friends to step in when we not only need to see to our physical health but our mental health too. I always say, a fabulous mom knows when to ask for help.

Whenever our kids fall ill, who do they seek out first for comfort? MOM. When they’re feeling hurt, whose reassurance do they depend on? MOM. And when they’re uncertain, at least they can be sure of mom’s unfailing love and care for them. But how are you going to do all that when you’re battling depression or alcoholism. I believe it is in these tender moments when our kids are leaning on us for support and guidance,  that the foundation of their mentality towards the world is laid.

A healthy outlook on life starts at home and often with us. Therefore, if for none other than the well-being of our children, we need to unite in the battle against mental illness attacking our women and in so doing raise a healthier generation.

The more we speak about mental illness in our society, the more we will learn about its symptoms and treatments. Only then can we start to heal and remove its ugly stigma.

Only after my mother had a stroke while alone at home one night, tragically resulting in the loss of too much oxygen to the brain, causing severe brain damage and her ultimate passing, did I realise she’d been suffering from a mental illness for possibly my whole life. Mom was an alcoholic. 

Did you know alcoholism is a mental illness? Well, it is, and it is curable. For mom it was too late, but it doesn’t have to be too late for anyone else. Which is why this post means so much to me. Many of the most common mental illnesses are curable if treated correctly.

Gita Harie, executive director of the Durban and Coastal Mental Health Association, said: “Mental health is the nation’s wealth. We take it for granted and we forget that there is an interrelationship between our physical and mental well-being.

If you know someone with a mental illness or someone you think may possibly be suffering from a mental disorder, remember to be understanding, compassionate and supportive.

Sources: Women’s Mental Health In South Africa by Alison Moultrie research psychologist & Dr. Sharon Kleinjes Senior lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at the University of Cape Town; South African Depression and Anxiety Group Sadag;  Health Systems Trust

Love,

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