Mental health awareness and public education

We use a number of ways to create awareness (e.g. campaigns, press releases, social media etc). These are informed by evidence and up to date data, such as The Lancet Commission for Ending Stigma and Discrimination (2022). Our awareness efforts are informed and amplify by our Mental Health Societies and persons with lived experience. 

In order to ensure that our awareness efforts reach everyone everywhere, SAFMH works with 17 Mental Health Societies [community based organisations in all nine provinces across South Africa] to spread mental health awareness to the broad public.

EMpowered Minds Newsletter

Our bi-weekly digital newsletter goes out to all our subscribers. The content of each newsletter generally follows a specific theme and we make sure to include the latest research, resources and news in each field that we unpack. We also showcase our work and weigh in on the themes that are being focused on.

Apart from it being a great exercise for us to keep up to date with the latest news in the mental health field, it is also a great way for us to stay engaged with our community.

As part of our awareness and public education on mental health SAFMH uses:

Reliable and trusted research to provide the contexts needed to understand what the issues are and how these can be addressed

Data from credible sources that enable us to provide insights into what is happening and how that impacts on people’s mental health

Accurate interpretations of public policy framework in order to encourage understanding of mental health decision-making apparatus and encouraging public accountability

International discourse and domesticates this into local context in ways that allows South Africans to put such information in perspective

Our Awareness Campaigns

In addition to the daily promotion of mental health rights, SAFMH runs wider public campaigns on a yearly basis. Every year the organisation focuses on three main annual awareness month programmes in consultation with persons with lived experience of mental health conditions.

Intellectual Disability Awareness Month

Intellectual Disability Awareness Month (IDAM) is celebrated annually in March. Each year the campaign focuses on educating the public about the issues facing persons living with intellectual disability, highlighting the valuable contribution they make to society while at the same time bringing to light some of the societal and attitudinal barriers they face in exercising their human rights.

Psychosocial Disability Awareness Month

Psychosocial Disability Awareness Month (PDAM) is celebrated annually in July. The campaign is aimed at raising awareness around the prevalence of mental health problems in our country and identifying some of the policy gaps that compound the challenges of inaccessible mental health care services for everyone in the country.

World Mental Health Awareness Month

World Mental Health Day (WMHD) is celebrated on the 10th of October annually. WMHD provides an opportunity to re-spark and deepen the commitment we give to mental health as individuals, communities, and countries. Everyone has the right to access quality, affordable and culturally-sensitive mental health services.

Ongoing Awareness

Throughout the year, SAFMH publishes regular press releases, opinion pieces, infographics and articles on all things mental health. We also commemorate mental health and other health and human rights-related awareness days, weeks and month.

As an organisation, we know that awareness plays an important role in breaking down negative perceptions and eradicating stigma and discrimination. It is through continuous public education that we will be able to get rid of intolerant attitudes towards persons with lived experience of mental health conditions.

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Key Moments Calendar

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