Get walking, start talking

Dana Snyman

Help break the stigma and silence around depression as mental illness by participating in the Hope Hike and Hope Bike family-friendly fun walk or mountain bike trail at Blaauwklippen wine estate, Stellenbosch, on Sunday October 13.

One in five South Africans suffer from a mental illness, with some waiting up to 10 years before seeking help.

Depression is an illness, not a weakness, and can be treated. Most of all: it is nothing to be ashamed of. As Afrikaans author, Dana Snyman, says: “Were you ashamed the last time you had the flu?”

According to the World Health Organisation, depression has increased by 18% in the past 10 years and is currently the third biggest global illness. Next year, it will be the second biggest, and in 2030, the biggest.

According to one statistic, worldwide almost 350 million people suffer from clinical depression, with almost one million per year losing their lives to suicide. According to another statistic, depression costs the South African economy R218 billion annually and is the cause of 47% of early retirement and 32% of all sick leave.

The individual suffering of those who have to live with a debilitating, paralysing, and sometimes fatal illness, however, cannot be described through mere statistics. We cannot begin to imagine the suffering of those who have lost their lives to a suicidal depression.

Therefore, the sooner you recognise the symptoms and seek help, the sooner you can manage the disease with the help of therapy and medication.

The Hope Hike and Hope Bike is an opportunity to help break the silence surrounding the disease of despair, to raise hope, and to spread the message that without mental health there is no health.

Be an ambassador for hope in October by wearing a “sky-blue for hope” awareness ribbon. After the event, participants can enjoy the eats and treats of the Blaauwklippen Sunday Market.

Dana Snyman’s Swarthond products will also be available and at each event three of his latest publications will be part of a lucky draw.

The 25km Hope Bike fun ride starts at 7.45am, the 10km Hope Hike at 8am, the 5km Hope Hike at 8.30am, and the 3km Hope Hike at 8.40am.

Entry costs R125 for the Hope Bike ride, R100 for the 10km Hope Hike, R75 for the 5km Hope Hike and R40 for the 3km Hope Hike. Entry for the 3km or 5km Hope Hike is free for children under 12. Registration starts at 6.30am on the day.

To enter, visit www.entryninja.com and search for hopehike.

The entire entry fee goes to the depression research fund of Ithemba Foundation, a registered non-profit organisation.

For more information contact ithembafoundation@mweb.co.za