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Caring for Healthcare Workers

Founded by an Australian doctor, Geoff Toogood, who experienced both depression and anxiety. The campaign seeks to help reduce the stigma associated with depression and ultimately decrease the high suicide rate among healthcare professionals, by raising international awareness about the issue.

It’s OK not to be OK

According to World Health Organization (WHO), around 11 people per 100 000 per year die by suicide in the African region, higher than the global average of nine per 100 000 people2.

This is due in part to insufficient action to address and prevent the risk factors, including mental health conditions which currently affect 116 million people, up from 53 million in 19902. The African region is home to six of the 10 countries with the highest suicide rates worldwide2.

Depression is about 50% more common among women than among men. More than 700 000 people die due to suicide every year. Although there are known, effective treatments for mental disorders, more than 75% of people in low- and middle-income countries receive no treatment1.

Barriers to effective care include a lack of investment in mental health care, lack of trained health-care providers and social stigma associated with mental disorders1.

Considering these concerning statistics, Cipla started an educational campaign to create widespread awareness about the importance of mental health and to help eradicate stigma. We also wanted to emphasize that depression is in fact a medical condition and that mental health is equally important to physical health. Just as any other organ in the body can become ill or affected, so too can the brain.

Some of the signs and symptoms of depression include problems concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions, fatigue, feelings of guilt, hopelessness, insomnia, irritability, restlessness, loss of interest in things once pleasurable, overeating or appetite loss, persistent feelings of sadness and suicidal thoughts2.

Depression does not simply go away, and there is no shame in seeking professional help for it. We want people to know that it’s OK not to be OK.

Cipla 24-hour mental health helpline (insert number here)
or WhatsApp +27768822775


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Experiencing anxiety occasionally is part and parcel of life, such as before a test, or when making an important decision. But anxiety disorders go beyond temporary worry or fear – it is excessive. Anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder/agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, and others) are the most prevalent psychiatric disorders5. The symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, schoolwork, and relationships6.

Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depressive disorder, is characterized by fluctuating moods and energy levels7. It is a highly debilitating psychiatric illness that may affect as many as 1 in every 25 persons8. People with the disorder have highly disruptive episodes, frequent recurrences, and severe psychosocial impairments – even when not symptomatic3.

Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, the mood swings and other symptoms can be managed by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder is treated with medication and psychological counselling (psychotherapy).


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  1. World Health Organization. Depressive disorders (Depression)
  2. World Health Organization. Reversing suicide, mental health crisis in Africa,nine%20per%20100%20000%20people.
  3. World Health Organisation. Depression. 1–4 (2015).
  4. Sobin, C & Sackeim, H. Psychomotor Symptoms of Depression. Accessed online:
  5. US National Library of Medicine. Treatment of anxiety disorders. Accessed online:
  6. National Institute of mental health. Anxiety disorders. Accessed online:
  7. The Lancet. Bipolar disorder. Accessed online:
  8. American Psychological Association. Bipolar disorder. Accessed online: