The Crazy for Walking initiative kicked off in 2017 with a walk from Pretoria to Cape Town in order to de-stigmatize mental illness and to promote mental wellness. The walkers arrived in Cape Town on the 10th of October 2017, World Mental health day, having completed the 1500 km journey over five weeks.
Stigma associated with mental illness is still a major barrier to treatment worldwide. The reality is that even in modern society people who suffer from a mental illness are still being labeled as “Crazy”. Instead of avoiding the word “Crazy” we have embraced it head on … The message: You are NOT “Crazy” if you suffer from a mental illness… it is CRAZY to walk 1500 km from Pretoria to Cape Town.
This year’s Crazy for Walking initiative will be bigger and better. Instead of having only one Crazy walk from Pretoria to Cape Town, we will have different Crazy for Walking events across South Africa. The walks will be hosted by the participating private Psychiatric hospitals supported by the national Crazy for Walking PR and media campaign.
One of the key focus areas of Crazy for Walking is mental health and wellness education. Last year we had different mental health speakers delivering talks on mental health and wellness along the route from Pretoria to Cape Town. This year there will be an even stronger focus on community talks on mental health throughout South Africa.
“The 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 traveled 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
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?”
Mr Francois Louw, Director of the National Hospital Network (NHN) group of hospitals says: “Many people think that it’s crazy to walk from Pretoria to Cape Town. After all, there are far easier ways of traveling 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.”
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 crazy distances from 3 – 10 October… 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
Click here to download more information about depression
Bloemcare – Private Psychiatric Hospital www.bloemcare.co.za
Crescent Clinic – Private Psychiatric Hospital www.crescentclinic.com
Denmar – Private Psychiatric Hospital www.denmar.co.za
Life Path Health – Private Psychiatric Hospitals www.lifepathgroup.co.za
M-Care Optima – Private Psychiatric hospital http://www.optimabloem.co.za/
Nurture Health – Private Mental Wellness Hospitals www.nurturehealth.net
Parkmed Neuro Clinic – Private Psychiatric Clinic http://www.parkmed.co.za/
Vista Clinic – Private Psychiatric Hospital www.vistaclinic.co.za