In recent years, we have seen greater attention to mental health, particularly in relation to burnout. As more progress is being made in destigmatizing mental health, apps like Panda highlight the importance of affordable access.
This is part of Suicide Prevention Week, which is commemorated in South Africa on September 10.
Panda specifically points out the lack of affordable resources that are made for men in the country, which is a very concerning trend given that South Africa ranks 10th in the world in terms of suicide rates, with men being four times more likely to commit suicide locally. .
The numbers around this give a rather grim reading, as Panda notes that of the 13,774 suicides reported in South Africa in 2019, 10,861 were male, while 2,913 were female.
“These figures reveal that South Africa needs urgent intervention and resources to help everyone, but especially men, to tackle stigma and overcome mental health issues,” the app said. in a press release sent to Hypertext.
“Although our app is aimed at anyone looking for mental health support, fewer men are seeking help or support. It is also estimated that a third of South Africans will suffer from a mental health problem at some point in their lives, so we have dedicated our time and resources to developing the Panda app to provide those seeking help with a safe space to open up and receive the support they need. need when they need it,” adds clinical psychologist Allan Sweidan, co-CEO and co-founder of Panda.
He also acknowledges the fact that this is indeed a complex problem plaguing the country and that a single solution cannot be found.
That said, digital tools may play a key role, particularly in addressing the reluctance of many people to seek help. Added to this is the fact that communicating via a mobile device can be easier than doing it face-to-face.
“Being able to use a smartphone to find mental health support for issues you may be experiencing or set up a one-on-one session with a professional discreetly is a valuable tool that digital innovation enables,” Sweidan notes.
“Addressing the realities facing men in South Africa, and the tragic consequences culminating in the tragic suicide rate, requires a multi-faceted approach targeted not only at the youngest men in society, but also at the need real people to find a better way forward. . Using the digital tools that are increasingly available to us is an important part of that,” concludes Panda.
Find out more about local help during Suicide Prevention Week here.[Image – Photo by Manuel Del Moral on Unsplash]