COVID-19, July unrest, KZN floods may worsen mental illness: Organisation

The COVID-19 pandemic, last July’s unrest and the long road to recovery after the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal may worsen depression, increase anxiety and lead to suicidal thoughts.

This is according to a mental health awareness organisation, Inner Connect Foundation.

The organisation’s national programmes manager Khulani Chiliza says the economic stress on government, business, and society has left many victims with very little or no hope.

“The level of a disaster right now and the level of depression that the people are going through right now, it has a possibility for people to have thoughts to say because I don’t see a way out of this situation right now. I strongly feel that the only way for me to survive this is just to end my life right now. We would be naive to think that people are okay, people who are in power, you cannot rest until you are seeing change in the society.”

Meanwhile, Lindiwe Maphumulo from Inanda is one of the flood victims who have tried to pick up the pieces.

“I use to be a very bubbly person but right now I have lost hope. I can’t even fake a smile or laugh. What for? How can I be happy when everything I have worked so hard for was washed away by the floods? If government could please provide us with building materials. We have no direction, we don’t even know if they will relocate us from here. The only thing they are so good at doing is registering our names and addresses – every day. It is like I’m going mad, I sleep the whole day. Being stressed as a parent has a negative impact on the children. It is not nice for children to see their parents in tears every day,” says Maphumulo.

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