10 September is World Suicide Prevention Day

We can all agree that 2020 has been a stressful year. COVID-19 has affected all our lives and sadly some more drastically than others. 

As World Suicide Prevention Day is recognised on 10 September, the seriousness of this pandemic’s impact on the mental health of people all over the world cannot be ignored.  

Read more:How to manage stress, anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic

Emotional support animals are a real thing

Research in the UK revealed that the number of people suffering from depression has almost doubled during this time. 

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Hill’s Pet Nutrition has always recognised the important role that pets have in helping people who suffer from mental illness.

“During the pandemic, we have consistently provided South Africans with tips and information about how their pets can assist them in getting through these uncertain times and providing emotional support to the whole family,” says pet behaviour expert Marycke Ackhurst from Hill’s. 

More people feeling stressed and anxious than ever

Many people have experienced an increase in feelings of stress and anxiety. The UK survey showed that 84,9% of respondents were feeling stressed and anxious. 

Marycke says that she believes that the situation in South Africa would not be vastly different, with people who previously may not have suffered from depression or anxiety, facing a different reality now. 

Depression & anxiety in women has skyrocketed due to lockdown – Here’s how to start healing

Young adults most affected

Another interesting and worrying statistic that the recent UK survey revealed is that there was an increase in depression across all age groups. However, the greatest increase was among those aged 16 to 39, with an increase from 11% to 31%.  

The stigma associated with mental health is constantly being tackled with many local and international celebrities, including Trevor Noah, Bonnie Mbuli, Chrissy Teigen, Shawn Mendes, Prince Harry, Dwayne Johnson, Kendrick Lamar, Billie Eilish, all speaking up about their personal struggles. 

Read more: James Middleton sets up wellness company for dogs

Pets to the rescue

There is no doubt that pets are great companions. They help their parents to create a routine and can also have a calming effect, whether it just be by sitting, stroking them or playing with them. Dogs can also help with exercise, which is not only good for the pet, but also beneficial to individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, or stress.

“We know through extensive research, that has been conducted over the years, that cat parents experience an increase in their well-being and are better able to cope with everyday life, as a result,” says Marycke. 

Individuals who may require emotional support are encouraged to contact The South African Depression and Anxiety Group or the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.