The State Of Mental Health in SA Post-Pandemic - Medshield Movement

The State Of Mental Health in SA Post-Pandemic

October is World Mental Health Month and we are shining a light on mental-health awareness as well as sharing advice from experts on what you can do to improve your mental health. We speak to a clinical psychologist about the state of our mental-health post pandemic.

We speak to Janie Loubser, George-based clinical psychologist about the state of mental-health in South Africa today – post-Covid. 

Let’s Talk Trauma

“Trauma-informed work has become very important,” says Janie. “Covid and lockdown were traumatic and have opened up people’s previous unprocessed trauma,” she explains. When asked about what she’s seeing more of in her practice, Janie says “The intensity or severity of mental-health challenges has increased. I’m finding that people are experiencing more pain and suffering; that there is a spilling over of emotions.”  

“People are stuck. The world is changing so rapidly and we need to go through personal transformation as well. But we don’t know how,” says Janie. “We are in the messy in between – saying goodbye to life the way it was, yet not having clarity about the future. People are vulnerable. I see many people who have regrets and feel like failures. These questions run deep; it’s not a simple depression to resolve. I believe that people need safe communities with well-qualified leadership where there is support for the regrets and failures as well as guidance on the way forward,” she explains.

Is Mental-Health Worse Than Before?

With the rise in mental-health discussions in mainstream media as well as social media, it begs the question: are more and more people suffering from mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression or is it just more openly spoken about?

“I don’t believe that it’s just because it’s more spoken about,” says Janie. “I think our nervous systems were completely unprepared for how the pandemic was dealt with and we’re still struggling to adjust,” she says. 

“The mind-body connection should not be questioned anymore, but yet it is. We see it, especially in people’s challenges with work – one should not be expected to work without taking care of your body and your mind. That’s why so many people are quitting,” she says of the ‘Great Resignation’ trend. 

Suicidal Thoughts

“Do not underestimate even a small thought such as ‘I wouldn’t mind not living anymore’. With the economic crisis and emotional overwhelm, one never knows when someone gets pushed over the edge to kill themselves,” says Janie. Visit (South African Depression and Anxiety Group) for more information on suicide prevention as well as their ‘safety plan’ toolkit. 

“Any thoughts related to not wanting to live anymore are serious and need to be expressed to someone who is qualified to deal with the complex nature of suicide,” says Janie. 

Read more here: “Seven Everyday Signs Of Depression”. 

Janie Loubser describes herself as a “future-focused therapist committed to helping you find direction so that you can feel secure and excited about your future”. She has curated a series of workshops that are all about breaking free from that familiar feeling of being stuck in life, career, relationships, and inspiration. Visit for more information. 

Looking for a therapist? Visit our Medshield provider network or speak to your GP for a recommendation. Not looking for a therapist, but want to improve your mental health with self-care practice at home? Read more here: “Expert Advice On Mental Health Self-Care At Home” – advice from Dr Tamsin Malengret and counselling therapist, Jacqui Morgan. 

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