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The first wellness day was implemented at M-Care Optima in 2015. The need for the day was identified by looking at the leave tendency  by personnel. It became evident that more attention had to be given to the general wellness of staff members in order for them to give quality care to the patients of M-Care Optima as well as to function optimally at their place of work. The day was well perceived by staff members and management. The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) committee therefore decided to continue with the project in 2016. It was decided that the day will be held twice a year in order to maintain the awareness and to enable the committee to monitor the changes made by staff members with regards to better their physical and mental health.

Planned dates for  Wellness days: 18 May 2016 and 30 November 2017 will be a “walk for fun” in the Optima park to get them realizing the fun of exercising and building team spirit.

The data obtained with each wellness day will serve as a guide to indicate staff members that may be at risk for the development of more serious conditions.

In order to monthly monitor identified at risk staff member, particular attention will be on blood pressure and blood glucose, seeing that both are seen as silent killers if not detected early and adequately monitored.

Identified at risk staff members will be monitored regularly by members of the OHS committee. If, however, any staff member feels that he or she is in need of above mentioned service, they can freely approach the two identified staff members (service is thus monthly as wall as prn). The measurements obtained will be recorded in the staff member’s wellness profile. Any staff members identified with serious problems will be revered to their General Practitioner or nearest clinic for treatment.

The wellness days will thus serve as a means to monitor the improvement of personnel’s general health. This will be visible in individual improvement of data obtained as well as in the number of at risk individuals identified with each wellness day. All wellness days are compulsory for personnel from all categories.

The events we sponsored by companies / individuals whose services are used by Optima on a regular basis. Sr E Swartz is mainly responsible for organizing this event with assistance from all OHS committee members and available personnel on the day. The kitchen is responsible to supply a healthy snack for everybody attending the event.

Written and compiled by: Sr E Swartz (Head of Occupational Health and Safety committee)


Viral hepatitis is one of the biggest global health threats of our time:

  • 34 million deaths a year
  • Causes two in every three liver cancer deaths
  • 290 million people living with viral hepatitis unaware

 Without finding the undiagnosed and linking them to care, millions will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost. On World Hepatitis Day, 28 July, we call on people from across the world to take action and raise awareness to find the “missing millions”.

But together we can eliminate viral hepatitis:

  • Global elimination strategy adopted in 2016 by World Health Organisation
  • A cure for hepatitis C and treatment and vaccine for hepatitis B exists



Proactive Management Is The Best Medicine For Mental Illness In The Workplace.

By Dr Ali Hamdulay

Mental illness in the workplace leads to decreased productivity, increased sick-related absenteeism, poor work quality, wasted materials and even compromised workplace safety. Despite the significant financial loss to employers and broad economy, many mental disorders fly below the radar in the workplace. A more proactive approach for managing mental illness in the workplace is a strategic imperative for South African employers.

Most employers tend to completely underestimate the financial impact of mental illness on their bottom-line. Increasing levels of mental illness drive up disability costs and demand more medical scheme spend. There is also a strong correlation between mental health disorders and substance abuse.

The South African Association of Social Workers in Private Practice estimates that 50% of workplace accidents is related to substance abuse. An undetected substance abuser can cost the employer 25% of that person’s wages.

However, in many workplaces, employees choose to suffer their mental illness in silence, fearing stigma should they speak out, while employers avoid asking too many questions, hoping mental health disorders will just disappear on their own.
Nevertheless, the latest Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) Report 2013-14 confirms that the prevalence of mental illness amongst medical schemes beneficiaries is rising. Total benefits per average beneficiary per month (pabpm) paid to psychiatrists increased by nearly 35% from 2011 to 2013. The total benefits paid to psychologists pabpm increased by 26% from 2011 to 2013, while the total benefits paid pabpm to mental health institutions from 2011 to 2013 increased by 58%.

The latest CMS data also shows that treatment for bipolar mood disorder (BMD) – a Prescribed Minimum Benefits condition and one of the top chronic conditions – increased by 173% from 2007 to 2012.

Unfortunately mental health issues in general are still poorly understood and often surrounded by prejudice, ignorance and fear. Many employees would ‘rather die’ than admit they suffer from a mental illness.

Despite increasing evidence of the connection between physical health and mental distress, when both mental and physical problems co-occur, doctors usually tend to focus on the physical problem. This often means the mental health issue remains untreated. Patients also ignore or play down mental illness. According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), less than 16% of sufferers receive treatment for mental illnesses. However, when mental health issues are addressed, many patients report improvements in their physical health.

With the World Health Organisation (WHO) predicting that depression will be the second highest cause of morbidity in the world by 2020, employers cannot afford to bury their heads in the sand and hope for the best.

A proactive approach for managing mental illness in the workplace is essential and it is heartening to see the increasing focus on proactively addressing the mental and emotional health of employees evident across both medical schemes and employers.

Like any chronic condition, mental illness can be managed successfully through disease management. Many companies have established specific programmes to manage depression, bipolar disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse amongst employees and medical scheme beneficiaries.

Some companies have also established Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) to support employees dealing with issues that impact on mental health. To improve the efficacy of these programmes, appropriate linkages between EAPs and other interventions, such as scheme-level disease management, are important.

A company medical scheme’s rising spend on mental illness can also be proactively reduced by encouraging use of the workplace EAP, a valuable preventative tool to address issues fueling stress and impacting on mental health, before more serious mental illness conditions develop.

Mental illness is rising, and incurring high social and economic costs. Soon it could overtake HIV/AIDS as the leading cause of illness in South Africa. It’s time to take proactive action that will help to manage the impact of mental illness in the workplace.

Sources: Dr Ali Hamdulay, MBChB (UCT), MFamMed (Cum Laude) (Stellenbosch), Postgraduate Certificate in Health Technology Assessment (Stellenbosch), Senior Leader Programme (UCT), is the General Manager: Health Provider and Policy Unit at Metropolitan Health,


26 June 2019

The United Nations General Assembly in 1987 decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) selects themes for the International Day and launches campaigns to raise awareness about the global drug problem. Health is the ongoing theme of the world drug campaign.

The South African government and its partners are implementing the National Drug Master Plan, 2013-2017, which is a collective effort towards a South Africa that is free of drug abuse. The drug master plan is a single document covering all national concerns regarding drug control; summarising national policies authoritatively, and defining priorities and allocating responsibility for drug control efforts (United Nations Drug Control Programme). The National Drug Master Plan prioritises strategies on demand reduction, supply reduction and harm reduction.

The Master Plan serves as the country’s blueprint for preventing and reducing alcohol and substance abuse and its associated social and economic consequences on South African society, and builds on the foundation laid down by government’s Programme of Action on alcohol and substance abuse.

The key outcomes of the five-year National Drug Master Plan are:

  • reduction of the bio-socio-economic impact of substance abuse and related illnesses on the South African population
  • ability of all people in South Africa to deal with problems related to substance abuse within communities
  • recreational facilities and diversion programmes that prevent vulnerable populations from becoming substance dependents
  • reduced availability of substance dependence-forming drugs and alcoholic beverages
  • development and implementation of multi-disciplinary and multi-modal protocols and practices for integrated diagnosis and treatment of substance dependence and co-occurring disorders and for funding such diagnosis and treatment.

Harmonization and enforcement of laws and policies to facilitate effective governance of the alcohol and drug supply chain.

The Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Act (Act 20 of 1992) and the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act (Act 70 of 2008), provides for the establishment of programmes for the prevention and treatment of drug dependency.

The Central Drug Authority was established as an advisory body in terms of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act (Act No. 70 of 2008) and is mandated to assist in the fight against substance abuse in the country.

Alcohol abuse is a complex socio-economic issue that requires a multi-stakeholder and integrated approach towards a drug free society, captured in the National Drug Master Plan. Creating awareness of dangers of the substance abuse in society and effecting behavioral change are integral parts of the National Drug Master Plan.

What you can do

Government calls on all South Africans to join hands in the implementation of the national programme of action against substance and alcohol abuse.

  • Community support is extremely important to prevent, treat, rehabilitate and accept those addicted to substances. Help break the stigma and promote faster recovery.
  • Be a good role model and empower young people to deal with life challenges to buffer substance abuse.
  • Be a messenger – provide factual information on the negative socio-economic effects of substance abuse to bring about behavioral changes.
    • The carnage on South Africa’s roads can be reduced drastically if adults drink responsibly.
    • Don’t drink and drive – Arrive Alive!
    • Celebrate year end festivities soberly and responsibly:  Don’t turn a night out into a nightmare.
    • Say NO to drugs.
  • Partner with government volunteer and support rehabilitation programmes to increase access to information for affected individuals and communities.


  • There is a burden of “secondary risks”, including injury, premature non-natural deaths, foetal alcohol syndrome (FASD).
  • Research indicates that social costs of alcohol related trauma and accidents far exceed those of other countries and that intoxication was a major factor in road accidents. According to the South African Revenue Service the known direct cost of drug abuse in 2005 was roughly R 101 000 million.
  • The social cost of illicit drug use was calculated using international data and is approximately R 136 380 million annually.
  • The relationship between alcohol and illegal drugs, crime, and violence is both direct and complex. In 2007, more than 47% of victims of homicide tested positively for alcohol at the time of death. Alcohol makes people vulnerable to crime.
  • 4 per cent (2.2 million) of the South African population used cannabis in 2004 as against the global norm of 4 per cent; 8.9 per cent (2.5 million) used cannabis in 2005/6 and 3.2 million used in 2008, an increase of nearly 20 per cent.


Prevent elder abuse. June 15th is World Elder Abuse Prevention Day

Elder abuse is a significant public health problem. Each year, hundreds of thousands of adults over the age of 60 are abused, neglected, or financially exploited. Elder abuse, including neglect and exploitation, is experienced by 1 out of every 10 people, ages 60 and older, who live at home. This statistic is likely an underestimate because many victims are unable or afraid to disclose or report the violence.

The following six types of maltreatment occur among persons over the age of 60.

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Neglect
  • Abandonment
  • Financial abuse

Working to Prevent Elder Abuse

CDC works to prevent violence before it occurs. Our prevention activities include:

  • Documenting the extent of the problem.
  • Conducting research on the factors that put people at risk or that protect them from violence.
  • Creating and evaluating the effectiveness of prevention programs.
  • Helping state and local partners plan, implement, and evaluate prevention programs.
  • Conducting research on the effective adoption and dissemination of prevention strategies.

The elderly are particularly vulnerable to being exploited or abused in several ways. It is a problem that stems from biological, psychological, societal and financial issues related to the abused and the abuser.

According to the American Psychological Association, about 2 million seniors are victims of financial, psychological, and physical abuse as well as other forms of abuse (1).

Also, for every report of elderly abuse, five others go unreported. This means that estimates of elder abuse are likely even higher the 2 million figure.

According to the National Committee For The Prevention Of Elder Abuse, about 5 percent of the older population has suffered from some kind of abuse. As the population of seniors in the U.S. continues to expand, so will the issues related to elder abuse in our country.

In order to prevent the victimization of our elders in society, there are many things you can do. By informing yourself on the topic of elder abuse and actively raising awareness for this issue, this will help curb neglect or abuse occurring to elders. It will also force nursing home staff and management to become more accountable for the conditions and caretakers they provide, which will lower rates of abuse.

Ways To Reduce Elder Abuse

There are various potential causes that lead to elder abuse, such as under staffing of facilities or personal problems among caretakers. However, by understanding the ways to reduce rates of elder abuse overall, this will help prevent elder abuse from happening.

Steps you can take to prevent abuse of the elderly includes the following:

  • Avoid isolating elders. This can cause depression, sadness and loneliness that will increase the chances of neglect or abuse.
  • Stay in touch with your elders.Family members can help care for the elderly person and be on the lookout for changes that may suggest abuse.
  • Keep elders active. By staying active in old age, this can prolong an elder’s life and decrease the chances that they will be vulnerable to elder abuse.
  • Encourage elders to attend religious services and community activities.This can help them stay in touch with things that have been important to them throughout their life.
  • Don’tallow elders to live with someone who is known to be abusive or violent. Once a person has a history of violence, they are likely to repeat that behavior again, especially when someone is vulnerable.
  • Be wary of caregivers or friends needing financial help, or those who have issues with illicit drugs.These are people who may manipulate an elder and steal or mismanage finances.
  • Elders should be aware of their own financial affairs.Elders may require the help of a trusted relative or friend to manage their money, but ultimately they should be the sole one in control of finances.
  • Don’t allow a caretaker or family member to impulsively alter an elder’s will, or add their names to financial accounts or land titles.These are people who put an elder at risk for financial exploitation.
  • Inform elders to be wary of solicitations from the telephone, internet or mail.These are likely to be scams designed to steal an elderly person’s money.

If you or someone you love is concerned that they have become a victim of any type of elder abuse, including financial abuse, discuss these concerns with a trusted family member, attorney, bank manager, clergy or close friend. If you are seeking help now, then you should consider a legal case review where you can tell your story and see what help is available to you.

There are also services provided by Adult Protective Services that can help determine if elder abuse is occurring. Find an Eldercare Provider today by calling you local social worker for assistance in making a informed choice for your loved one .

How can I protect the senior in my life from becoming a victim of abuse?

By identifying the risk factors of abuse for an elderly loved one in your life, you will stand a higher chance of preventing any form of abuse — before it even occurs.

There are various steps you can take to keep your loved one safe. These include the following:

  • If you are a caregiver yourself, look for trusted people who can provide additional care when you need a break to avoid becoming overly stressed or overwhelmed by your care-giving duties.
  • Try not to become overburdened. If you are overburdened when caring for an ailing relative, you are more likely to become a perpetrator of elder abuse yourself.
  • If your loved one is in a nursing facility, stay involved in the process. Observe for any signs of elder abuse or evidence that they are receiving adequate care from the staff.
  • Be aware of any changes in your loved one’s appearance or mood, as this can indicate they are suffering from abuse.
  • Provide your loved one with tips on how they can avoid becoming the victim of solicitors.
  • Consider therapy or a support group if you are feeling burdened by caring for your loved one.
  • Encourage your elderly loved one to be wary when partaking in financial decisions. Tell them to seek the advice of a lawyer, a trusted family member or friend before signing any important documents.

If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of elder abuse, talk to them directly or to the supervisor or medical director at the nursing home facility in which they reside. By encouraging them to open up to you about any concerns they may have about the care they are receiving, you will be prepared to assist them in getting out of the shroud of abuse.


Male students are a forgotten demographic with their own mental health needs.

Millions of young people will shortly be commencing studies at universities and colleges across the country. This is a time of great hope, opportunity and excitement for most students. However some students face specific challenges which can result in poor mental health.

Indeed, the National College Health Assessment indicates that around one in four students suffer from a diagnosable mental illness, while a much greater proportion report feeling overwhelmed (around 70 percent) or very lonely (around 60 percent). This demands concerted action.

Gendered Differences

Men and women on campus experience mental health issues in different proportions. Women have higher rates of depression, anxiety and eating disorders. In contrast, men have higher rates of suicide, substance abuse, and are less likely to use official mental health services.

The state of the youth and mental health crisis in South Africa 2018

SADAG has released these figures:

  • 31.5% of teen suicide attempts required medical treatment;
  • 17.6% of teens had considered attempting suicide;
  • 1 in 4 university students had been diagnosed with depression;
  • Over 20% of 18-year-old’s had one or more suicide attempts;
  • According to the WHO, half of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age but most cases are undetected and untreated;
  • Male youth die by suicide more than female youth;
  • 1 in 6 teens are/will be addicted to cannabis.

Throughout this year we have heard of more and more university students who don’t cope under the pressure and aren’t able to cope with their problems, which has resulted in many suicides on campus. University students experience depression, stress and anxiety every day – sometimes without any knowledge they are suffering from a mental illness.

Clinical psychologist and SADAG board member Zamo Mbele says, “Unfortunately this has led to many suicides which we can’t afford as a caring society.

“Depression does not discriminate” 

Depression does not discriminate – it can affect any race, age, gender or religion. It’s important that parents, teachers, grandparents, loved ones and entire communities know that depression can affect young people too, even a 6-year-old child.

It is important to know the signs and symptoms of depression, the suicide warning signs and how to get help before it is too late.

“From the hundreds of calls that SADAG receives every day, children, teens and young adults are dealing with many problems they feel they can’t handle,” says operations director Cassey Chambers.

The main triggers include relationship problemsfamily issuesabuseloss or grief and trauma. Other contributing factors include exam stresssubstance abusebullyinglearning difficultiesfinancial issues and chronic illness.

“The youth are not equipped with enough coping skills or support structures to handle the kind of problems that they have to deal with every day”, says Chambers.

By creating awareness and information we can educate more people on how to help young people in SA and get them help before it is too late.

Exam stress

“With the matric final exams about to start, as well as all other exams for other grades and at universities – students will be dealing with increased pressure and stress, on top of everything they have been dealing with throughout the year,” says Zamo Mbele.

The old African proverb that says it takes a village to raise a child is no truer than with mental health now. Empowering teachers, parents, grandparents, churches, friends and family about the issues of youth and mental health is critical if we want to be able to get young people help before it is too late, and help prevent youth suicides.

According to Celebrity and Youth Ambassador, Penny Lebyane, “Mental Health is currently a great challenge for the youth and we need ways to help them understand how the mind works and what help is available. Mental health is where it all starts and can end.”

For more information, visit


Depression in Men

In June, one of the important focuses is Men’s Health Month. We have got a few articles regarding depression, whether you are studying or a successful business man, stress is a part of our daily lives. These articles will help you identify signs and suggest coping skills on how to manage stressors and suggestions for physical and mental exercises to improve your well being. Please note that this is by no means an alternative to professional medical treatment, but rather enhancers to the treatment you are already on.

Feel free to contact M-Care Optima on 051 502 1800 for help or contact numbers for relevant therapists.

What it Looks Like and How to Get Help

As men, we like to think of ourselves as
strong and in control of our emotions. When we feel hopeless or overwhelmed by despair, we often deny it or try to cover it up. But depression is a common problem that affects many of us at some point in our lives. While depression can take a heavy toll on your home and work life, you don’t have to tough it out. There are plenty of things you can start doing today to feel better.

What is male depression?
Depression in men is a treatable health condition, not a sign of emotional weakness or a
failing of masculinity. It affects millions of men of all ages and backgrounds, as well as those who care about them—spouses, partners, friends, and family. Of course, it’s normal for anyone to feel down from time to time—dips in mood are an ordinary reaction to losses, setbacks, and disappointments in life. However, male depression changes how you think, feel, and function in your daily life. It can interfere with your productivity at work or school and impact your relationships, sleep, diet, and overall enjoyment of life. Severe depression can be intense and unrelenting.

Unfortunately, depression in men often gets overlooked as many of us find it difficult to talk about our feelings. Instead, we tend to focus on the physical symptoms that often
accompany male depression, such as back pain, headaches, difficulty sleeping, or sexual
problems. This can result in the underlying depression going untreated, which can have
serious consequences. Men suffering from depression are four times more likely to commit suicide than women, so it’s vital for any man to seek help with depression before feelings of despair become feelings of suicide. Talk honestly with a friend, loved one, or doctor about what’s going on in your mind as well as your body. Once correctly diagnosed, there is plenty you can do to successfully treat and manage male depression and prevent it from coming back.

Signs and symptoms of depression in men
Men tend to be less adept at recognizing symptoms of depression than women. A man is
more likely to deny his feelings, hide them from himself and others, or try to mask them
with other behaviors. And while men may experience classic symptoms of depression such as despondent mood, loss of interest in work or hobbies, weight and sleep disturbances, fatigue, and concentration problems, they are more likely than women to experience “stealth” depression symptoms such as anger, substance abuse, and agitation. The three most commonly overlooked signs of depression in men are:

  1. Physical pain. Sometimes depression in men shows up as physical symptoms—such as backache, frequent headaches, sleep problems, sexual dysfunction, or digestive disorders—that don’t respond to normal treatment.
  2. Anger. This could range from irritability, sensitivity to criticism, or a loss of your
    sense of humor to road rage, a short temper, or even violence. Some men become
    abusive or controlling.
  3. Reckless behavior. A man suffering from depression may exhibit escapist or risky behavior such as pursuing dangerous sports, driving recklessly, or engaging in unsafe sex. You might drink too much, abuse drugs, or gamble compulsively.

How to know if you’re depressed
If you identify with several of the following, you may be suffering from depression.
1. You feel hopeless and helpless
2. You’ve lost interest in friends, activities, and things you used to enjoy
3. You’re much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual
4. You’re consuming more alcohol, engaging in reckless behavior, or self-medicating
5. You feel restless and agitated
6. Your sleep and appetite have changed
7. You can’t concentrate or your productivity at work has declined
8. You can’t control your negative thoughts

Triggers for depression in men
There’s no single cause of depression in men. Biological, psychological, and social factors all play a part, as do lifestyle choices, relationships, and coping skills.
While any man can suffer from depression, there are some risk factors that make a man
more vulnerable, such as:

  • Loneliness and lack of social support
  • Inability to effectively deal with stress
  • A history of alcohol or drug abuse
  • Early childhood trauma or abuse
  • Aging in isolation, with few social outlets

Depression and erectile dysfunction
Impotence or erectile dysfunction is not only a trigger of depression in men, it can also be a side effect of many antidepressant medications. Men with sexual function problems are almost twice as likely to be depressed as those
without. Depression increases the risk of erectile dysfunction. Many men are reluctant to acknowledge sexual problems, thinking it’s a reflection on their manhood rather than a treatable problem caused by depression.

Getting help for male depression
Don’t try to tough out depression on your own. It takes courage to seek help—from a loved one or a professional. Most men with depression respond well to self-help steps such as reaching out for social support, exercising, switching to a healthy diet, and making other lifestyle changes. But don’t expect your mood to improve instantly. You’ll likely begin to feel a little better each day. Many men recovering from depression notice improvements in sleep patterns and appetite before improvements in their mood. But these self-help steps can have a powerful effect on how you think and feel, helping you to overcome the symptoms of depression and regain your enjoyment of life.

Tip 1: Seek social support
Work commitments can often make it difficult for men to find time to maintain friendships, but the first step to tackling male depression is to find people you can really connect with, face-to-face. That doesn’t mean simply trading jokes with a co-worker or chatting about sports with the guy sitting next to you in a bar. It means finding someone you feel comfortable sharing your feelings with, someone who’ll listen to you without judging you, or telling you how you should think or feel. You may think that discussing your feelings isn’t very macho, but whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re already communicating your feelings to those around you; you’re just not using words. If you’re short-tempered, drinking more than usual, or punching holes in the wall, those closest to you will know something’s wrong. Choosing to talk about what you’re going through, instead, can actually help you feel better.

Finding social support to beat male depression
For many men—especially when you’re suffering from depression—reaching out to others can seem overwhelming. But developing and maintaining close relationships are vital to helping you get through this tough time. If you don’t feel that you have anyone to turn to, it’s never too late to build new friendships and improve your support network.

How to reach out for depression support

  • Look for support from people who make you feel safe and cared for.
  • Make face-time a priority.
  • Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it.
  • Find ways to support others.
  • Care for a pet.
  • Join a support group for depression.
  • Invite someone to a ballgame, movie, or concert.
  • Call or email an old buddy.

Tip 2: Support your health
Positive lifestyle changes can help lift depression and keep it from coming back.

  • Aim for eight hours of sleep.
  • Keep stress in check.
  • Practice relaxation techniques.
  • Spend time in sunlight.

Develop a “wellness toolbox” to deal with depression
Come up with a list of things that you can do for a quick mood boost. The more “tools” for coping with depression, the better. Try and implement a few of these ideas each day, even if you’re feeling good.

  1. Spend some time in nature
  2. List what you like about yourself
  3. Read a good book
  4. Watch a funny movie or TV show
  5. Take a long, hot shower
  6. Take care of a few small tasks
  7. Play with a pet
  8. Talk to friends or family face-to-face
  9. Listen to music
  10. Do something spontaneous

Tip 3: Exercise for greater mental and physical health
When you’re depressed, just getting out of bed can seem like a daunting task, let alone
working out! But exercise is a powerful depression fighter-and one of the most important tools in your recovery arsenal. Research shows that regular exercise can be as effective as medication for relieving depression symptoms. It also helps prevent relapse once you’re well. To get the most benefit, aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. This doesn’t have to be all at once-and it’s okay to start small. A 10-minute walk can improve your mood for two hours. Exercise is something you can do right now to boost your mood

  • Your fatigue will improve if you stick with it.
  • Find exercises that are continuous and rhythmic.
  • Add a mindfulness element, especially if your depression is rooted in unresolved trauma or fed by obsessive, negative thoughts.
  • Pair up with an exercise partner.
  • Take a dog for a walk. If don’t own a dog, you can volunteer to walk homeless dogs for an animal shelter or rescue group.

Tip 4: Eat a healthy diet to improve how you feel

  • Minimize sugar and refined carbs.
  • Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, and foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones.
  • Eat more Omega-3 fatty acids to give your mood a boost.
  • Try foods rich in mood-enhancing nutrients, such as bananas and spinach
  • Avoid deficiencies in B vitamins which can trigger depression.

Tip 5: Challenge negative thinking
Do you feel like you’re powerless or weak? That bad things happen and there’s not much you can do about it? That your situation is hopeless? Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself and your expectations for the future.
When these types of thoughts overwhelm you, it’s important to remember that this is a
symptom of your depression and these irrational, pessimistic attitudes-known as cognitive distortions-aren’t realistic. When you really examine them, they don’t hold up.

But even so, they can be tough to give up. You can’t break out of this pessimistic mind frame by telling yourself to “just think positive.” Often, it’s part of a lifelong pattern of thinking that’s become so automatic you’re not even completely aware of it. Rather, the trick is to identify the type of negative thoughts that are fuelling your depression, and replace them with a more balanced way of thinking.

Professional treatment for depression in men
If support from family and friends and positive lifestyle changes aren’t enough, seek help from a mental health professional. Be open about how you’re feeling as well as your physical symptoms. Treatments for depression in men include:

  • You may feel that talking to a stranger about your problems is ‘unmanly,’ or that therapy carries with it a victim status. However, if therapy is available to you, it can often bring a swift sense of relief, even to the most skeptical male.
  • Antidepressant medication may help relieve some symptoms of depression, but doesn’t cure the underlying problem, and is rarely a long-term solution. Medication also comes with side effects, so always pursue self-help steps as well.

How to help a man with depression
It often takes a wife, partner, or other family member to recognize a man’s symptoms of
depression. Even if a man suspects he’s depressed, he may be ashamed that he’s unable to cope on his own and only seek help when pressured to do so by a loved one.

Talking to a man about depression
Many men don’t exhibit typical depressive symptoms—but rather anger and reckless behavior—so you may want to avoid using the word “depression” and try describing his behavior as “stressed” or “overly tired.” It could help him to open up.

  • Point out how his behavior has changed, without being critical. For example, “You always seem get stomach pains before work,” or “You haven’t played racquetball for ”
  • Suggest a general check-up with a physician. He may be less resistant to seeing a family doctor than a mental health specialist at first. The doctor can rule out medical causes of depression and then make a referral.
  • Offer to accompany him on the first visit with a mental health specialist. Some men are resistant to talking about their feelings, so try to remove roadblocks to him seeking help.
  • Encourage him to make a list of symptoms to discuss. Help him focus on his feelings as well as physical ailments, and to be honest about his use of alcohol and drugs.

How to support a man with depression

  • Engage him in conversation and listen carefully. Do not disparage the feelings he expresses, but do point out realities and offer hope.
  • Do not ignore remarks about suicide.
  • Invite him for walks, outings, and other activities.
  • Encourage participation in activities that once gave pleasure.
  • Do not expect him ‘to snap out of it.
  • You may need to monitor whether he is taking prescribed medication or attending therapy.
  • Remember, you can’t “fix” someone else’s depression.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health


National Child Protection Week (CPW) is observed in South Africa annually to raise awareness of the rights of children as articulated in the Children’s Act of 2005.

South Africa has drafted legislation, based on the United Convention of the Rights of the Child, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the Constitution.

The campaign began in 1997 and it aims to mobilize all sectors of society to ensure that children and cared for and protected. While the initiative is led by the Minister of Social Development, it is every citizen’s duty to a role in protecting children and creating a safe and secure environment for them. Children in South Africa live in a society with a Constitution that has the highest regard for their rights and for the equality and dignity of everyone. Protecting children from violence, exploitation and abuse is not only a basic value, but also an obligation clearly set out in Article 28 of the South African Constitution.

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together, therefore, each person can participate in the CPW campaign by educating themselves and sharing with others The Bill of Rights in the Constitution Section 28 which states the rights that every child has;
1. Every child has the right –
a) to a name and a nationality from birth;
b) to family care or parental care, or to appropriate alternative care when removed from the family environment;
c) to basic nutrition, shelter, basic health care services and social services;
d) to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation;
e) to be protected from exploitative labour practices;
f) not to be required or permitted to perform work or provide services that –
i) are inappropriate for a person of that child’s age; or
ii) place at risk the child’s well-being, education, physical or   mental health or spiritual, moral or social development;
g) not to be detained except as a measure of last resort, in which case, in addition to the rights a child enjoys under sections 12 and 35, the child may be detained only for the shortest appropriate period of time, and has the right to be –
i) kept separately from detained persons over the age of 18 years; and
ii) treated in a manner, and kept in conditions, that take account of the child’s age;
h) to have a legal practitioner assigned to the child by the state, and at state expense, in civil proceedings affecting the child, if substantial injustice would otherwise result; and
i) not to be used directly in armed conflict, and to be protected in times of armed conflict.
2. A child’s best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child.
3. In this section, “child” means a person under the age of 18 years.

The CPW campaign was initiated in 1997 to raise awareness about the need for communities to protect children from abuse, neglect, exploitation and other forms of violence and ill-treatment.

Let us be reminded by the words of Nelson Mandela, in his speech at the dedication of Qunu and Nkalane Schools in June 1995 when he said; “our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation. They will be the leaders of our country, the creators of our national wealth who care for and protect our people”.

Where to get help:
The Department of Social Development has a pilot a 24-hour call centre dedicated to provide support and counselling to victims of gender-based violence:
• The toll-free number to call is 0800 428 428 (0800 GBV GBV) to speak to a social worker for assistance and counselling.
• Callers can also request a social worker from the Command Centre to contact them by dialing *120*7867# (free) from any cell phone.
You can also get help at:
• Childline South Africa: 0800 055 555
• Child Welfare South Africa: 0861 4 CHILD (24453) / 011 452-4110 / e-mail:


On the 12th of May 2019 it is International Nurses day. From everyone at M-Care Optima we would like to thank each and every Nurse that makes a patient’s life a little easier.  You are very special to all the patients.

“Prayer for a Special Nurse”
Long before you entered nursing
The Lord had played His part,
Planting seeds of love and kindness
In the portals of your heart.
For it’s clear that you’ve been gifted
With a sympathetic ear,
And blessed from the beginning
Whit a willingness to cheer.
And the people who you care for
Are better off by far,
When they’re touched by your compassion,
By the person that you are.
For in times of woe and worry
When they’re frightened or they’re blue,
No one could be more consoling than the friend they’ll find in you.

– Author Unknown


The South African National Burn Safety Awareness Week is from 6 to 12 May. The National Burns Association of South Africa (NBASA) has some important information to share on burns awareness and safety.

Burns awareness and safety at home

  • Have working smoke alarms in your home
  • Have an ESCAPE plan
  • Use quick release devices on security-barred windows
  • Learn at least two escape routes/emergency exits from each room.

ARM yourself with KNOWLEDGE

  • Use the correct equipment (fire extinguishers in the kitchen, etc.)
  • Keep Burnshield products for burns
  • Call 10177 for help in a fire situation or 112 on a cell phone.

Hot water or liquids can cause burns

  • Adjust the temperature of the geyser to 55°C
  • When cooking with oil, have a lid nearby that can be quickly placed over any oil if it ignites. A wet cloth or baking powder can also be used to smother the flames
    • Never throw water onto burning oil, it can spread the fire and also cause an explosion
    • Have a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket available in the kitchen.

Electricity can cause fires or burns

  • Do not overload electrical circuits, especially extension cords
  • Supplying other properties or buildings with electricity by using long extensions, especially if they cross streets, can lead to electrocution and fire
  • Never use electrical appliances with wet hands, in the bathroom or pool, as water conducts electricity
  • Always unplug heat-producing appliances when not in use, especially irons and heaters
  • A heater must be at least 1m away from anything that may catch fire (clothing, furniture or curtains). DO NOT dry clothes on a heater.

For more information visit the National Burn Awareness South Africa website.



The Optima Psychiatric Hospital, a healing centre, situated in the Bloemfontein suburb, Hospitaalpark, accommodating 81 patients and is operated by a company consisting of nine partners, all Psychiatrists.

Contact Details

17 Addison St, Bloemfontein, 9301
Phone: 051 502 1800
Fax: 051 502 1810
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