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December 3, 2020 By Dhesan Govender 4 Comments

Mental Health Awareness Day

The aim of this awareness campaign is to educate people about mental health, and to reduce the stigma and discrimination people with mental health issues often experience.

World Mental Health Day was celebrated for the first time on October 10, 1992 at the initiative of Deputy Secretary General Richard Hunter. Up until 1994, the day had no specific theme other than general promoting mental health advocacy and educating the public.

Stigmas surrounding mental health pose a major stumbling block when it comes to treating the disease in South Africa. In African cultures there is not even a word for ‘depression’ – it’s basically not deemed a real illness. As a result, sufferers are afraid of being discriminated against, disowned by their families or even fired from work, should they admit to having a problem. There is still the perception that someone with a mental illness is crazy, dangerous or weak. Because there is often an absence of physical symptoms with mental illness, it is considered ‘not real’, a figment of the imagination.”

According to The South African Depression and Anxiety Group, one in five people will, or does suffer from a mental illness in their lives. Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse and job stress are common, and have a huge effect on the wider community. Even though many mental health problems can be treated at clinics and hospitals, very few South Africans seek help they need when they have mental health problems.
Causes and risk factors for mental illness

There are several different causes of and risk factors for mental illnesses, ranging from inherited traits (other relatives have a mental illness), exposure to certain substances such as alcohol or drugs or environmental stressors before birth, and reactions to stressful life situations, such as a close person’s death, or a divorce or financial problems, to name but a few.

Treatment depends on the type of mental illness, and how severe it is. Often a combination of treatments works most efficiently – these can include therapy, medication, and in some cases, hospitalisation. A team approach often works best.

Warning signs of mental illness to watch for especially when you have two or more of these symptoms are;

1. Long-lasting sadness or irritability
2. Extremely high and low moods
3. Excessive fear, worry, or anxiety
4. Social withdrawal
5. Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits

The HWSETA believes that the first step to healing is talking about it. There are still so many sufferers who feel alone, scared and misunderstood and we also believe that increased awareness and a policy of educating the public about mental health issues will encourage more people to share their diagnoses and seek the help they need.


  1. Tshepo
    30th May 2022 reply

    I am HWSETA intern I earn R3500 monthly but I heard that HWSETA Interns earn R5000 and above is it true

    • Wendy Tembe
      Wendy Tembe
      1st June 2022 reply

      Dear Tshepo

      Kindly be informed that you can visit the HR department or enquire with your Employer, The Employer will confirm the stipend you are supposed to receive as per the agreement. The hearsay will not be accurate but the agreement with the Employer will.

      Trust you will find this note in order
      Thank you

  2. Natasha Chauke
    Natasha Chauke
    29th September 2022 reply

    Good day

    My name is Natasha Chauke. I am a south African citizen currently matriculating. I am interested in the pharmacist assistant learnership program offered at netcare Hospital for the year 2023. I enquired at netcare Hospital and found a pharmacist who is a registered tutor and has a vacancy I can fill. I was told to apply through HWSETA. I would like assistance in this regard. How do I go about applying and where can I apply.

    Your promptness in this regard will highly be appreciated
    Email: masikizenatasha197@gmail

    • Wendy Tembe
      Wendy Tembe
      30th September 2022 reply

      Dear Natasha

      Kindly note that HWSETA does not recruit ;earners directly for any funded programmes, HWSETA advertise funding to HWSETA registered Employers and once they are approved for funding they recruit learners.

      HWSETA Employers are the department of health, social development, private clinics and private hospitals. Kindly enquire with them when do they advertise for funded opportunities, HWSETA advertised in May- June this year for these opportunities. HWSETA will advertise again next year.

      Trust you will find this note in order

      Thank you

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