4 SEPT – 10 OCT ‘17
Pretoria to Cape Town awareness walk for mental health
“The Vista Clinic’s, Happiness HELPS tools for achieving and maintaining mental wellness, gave life to an idea originally from a personal dream of mine. I was further inspired by the lyrics of Koos du Plessis’s song “Sprokie vir ‘n stadskind” (“….as jy aanhou stap tien duisend ure, sal jy dalk daar kom…”). This made me wonder how far one can walk in ten thousand hours. The longest tangible distance I could imagine, (as I travelled it from time to time), was from Pretoria to Cape Town…. and then this “crazy” idea of long-distance walking was born! Since then, wherever I travel in South Africa, I would imagine myself walking this route…… and so it eventually all came together in the Crazy for Walking initiative.” Hannetjie Buitendag – Team Captain
Hannetjie had a crazy idea of walking an extraordinary long distance, to support the de-stigmatising of mental illness and to raise awareness around depression in particular, by demonstrating the true meaning of “crazy”. Furthermore: the “Happiness HELPS” tools to mental wellness, developed by Vista Clinic, will be promoted during the initiative, as these can greatly benefit people who struggle with the challenges of depression. “Happiness HELPS” will be shared with communities along the route, as it is an easy-to-follow guide to improving emotional wellbeing for everyone!
Let’s face it, there are many easier ways to travel 1500 km than merely on foot, walking. In fact if you tell anyone that you intend to walk so far, their responses will probably include something like: “Are you crazy?” The “Exercise” element of the Happiness HELPS tools to improved mental wellness, will be taken further through the Crazy for Walking initiative, going the proverbial “extra mile” (in fact, the extra 1500 kms!), with the intention of highlighting what “crazy” actually means!
Mr Francois Louw, CEO of Vista Clinic, one of 30 psychiatric hospitals in the National Health Network (NHN) group of hospitals and the principal sponsor of the initiative says: “Many people think that it’s crazy to walk from Pretoria to Cape Town. After all, there are far easier ways of travelling between the two capitals. The primary objective of this initiative is to elevate awareness of mental illness. More importantly though, it aims to de-stigmatize the associations around the word “crazy”, often used through ignorance and fear of mental illness.”
NHN (National Hospital Network) Private Psychiatric group of hospital will be joining the Crazy for Walking initiative with members participating in the walk. The NHN will also create nationwide awareness of the Crazy for Walking initiative. https://www.nhn.co.za/
Research suggests many stereotypes and a general negative attitude towards mental illness. Even at a young age, children refer to people who suffer from a mental illness as “crazy” or “weird”. Sadly, these derogatory references, based on ignorance, remain throughout adulthood.
“People often call those suffering from a mental illness, “crazy”. With the Crazy for Walking initiative, we aim to show what it really means to be crazy…walking 1500 km from Pretoria to Cape Town… now THAT’S what I call “crazy!”.
Nicolene Cronje – Project Manager
Depression affects so many South Africans, yet the stigma around this debilitating and challenging illness, often discourages those affected to seek treatment which will enable them to live a productive life. According to the WHO (World Health Organization) Depression is a common illness worldwide, with an estimated 350 million people affected. Depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. Particularly when long-lasting and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Over 800 000 people die due to suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds. Source: www.who.int
Where can I find help?
SADAG (South African Depression and Anxiety Group) www.sadag.org
Life Line – Counselling www.lifelinepta.org.za
Vista Clinic – Private Psychiatric Hospital www.vistaclinic.co.za
Bloemcare – Private Psychiatric Hospital www.bloemcare.co.za
Denmar – Private Psychiatric Hospital www.denmar.co.za
Life Path Health – Private Psychiatric Hospitals www.lifepathgroup.co.za
Thank you to all our sponsors for investing in the dream with us.