IS MENTAL health still stereotyped in our kasis?

As 10 October was Mental Health Awareness Day, we pose a question: how much do you know about the disease?

Abdurahman Kenny, central nervous system portfolio manager at Pharma Dynamics, said a healthy body doesn’t always have to do with physical appearance.

But mental fitness also plays a key role in ensuring a person’s well-being.

According to Kenny, while most people think of depression and anxiety as the most causes of mental illness, other factors also come into play.

“Research shows that spending too much time indoors, being stuck in traffic, heavy social media use, lack of movement and slouching could all be triggers,” he said.

“Exposure to sunlight increases the brain’s production of serotonin – a hormone associated with your mood swings.

“By spending 10 to 15 minutes outdoors with our arms and legs exposed to the sun is enough for our bodies to produce the required amount of Vitamin D.

Research shows that a lack of Vitamin D increases the likelihood of depression by up to 14% and suicide by 50%.

“So be sure to make safe sun exposure – either in the morning or late afternoons a habit.”

SunWellbeing asked people if they like staying in the sun:

Thabo Morake (19), from Orlando West, Soweto, said he avoids too much sunlight as it makes him catch flu.

Maki Mthembu (42) and Thembisa Mhlongo (46) from Freedom Park in Soweto said they are exposed to the sun when there’s a need to go somewhere.

“Too much heat can make our skin turn darker and that’s what we’re trying to avoid.”

Statistics also showed that those who commute for longer than half an hour to and from work, regardless of the mode of transport, present greater levels of stress and anxiety.

Heavy social media use – equal to two or more hours a day – has also been associated with poor mental health.

Kenny said while most people love being online, it’s important to set boundaries.

Too much time spent on networking sites can have damaging consequences.