Reducing stigma

Cape Support for Mental
Health (CSMH) 

October is Mental
Health awareness
month, which has
the aim of educating
the public about
mental health and
reducing the stigma
and discrimination
that people with
mental illness are often
subjected to. 

Unfortunately,
mental illnesses are
still often regarded as
shameful, not talked
about openly, and
hence not properly
understood. 
Schizophrenia is one
of the most traumatic,
and least understood,
mental illnesses, and it
has a profound impact
not only on the patient,
but on the family. 
The
symptoms include
bizarre delusions,
hallucinations, and
changes in emotions
and behaviour.
The illness interferes
with a person’s ability
to think clearly, to
distinguish reality from
fantasy, to manage
emotions, make
decisions and relate to
others. 
Schizophrenia
affects about 1% of the
population worldwide,
and is regarded as
incurable, though
treatable. 
Most often it begins
in the 18 to 28 age
group. 
Treatment involves
the use of antipsychotic
medication as well as
psychosocial support,
with family involvement
being critical.
Outcomes vary, with
some patients able to
resume a reasonably
functional daily life. 
Cape Support
for Mental Health
(CSMH), founded
in 1981 as a support
group for families and
friends of those living
with schizophrenia,
has helped many
families cope with
the difficulties and
challenges posed by
this illness. 
It provides
emotional support,
up-to-date information
about the disease and
its treatment, and
practical advice about
available resources and
procedures.
Monthly meetings
on the last Monday of
the month at 7pm are
currently being held
via Zoom. 
Speakers
include psychiatrists,
psychologists, social
workers and other
professionals. 
Two or three times a
year, the meeting takes
the form of small group
discussions.
If you are interested in joining, or for
more information call
Marijke on 021 685
4398, or email info@
capesupport.org.za. 
Meeting details
are posted on www.capesupport.org.za
and the next meeting,
on Monday October
26, features speaker
Dr Helena Thornton,
a psychologist at
Valkenberg Hospital.
Attendance is not
restricted to members. 
Mental Health
Awareness Day is on
Saturday October 10
and the theme for
this year is “Mental
Health for All – Greater
Investment, Greater
Access”.