Mental Health Assistance in South Africa?
December 30, 2016 11:35 PM   Subscribe

Someone overseas has reached out to tell me he is struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. I'm in USA, he's in South Africa, and he tells me there are no resources he can afford. Can anyone help?

This is someone I don't know except via work emails related to a project, though we've chatted in those emails about random everyday stuff. He's having a hard time; his marriage has ended and he's struggling financially while supporting his ex and his kids. He was going to therapy for a while, but ended it because he can't afford it any longer. He tells me there are few resources for assistance with mental health problems in South Africa, and he's feeling desperate, friendless and suicidal.

I'm trying to find anything that's low-cost that might help him, but from what I can find on the Internet from here, it seems he's right and that South Africa isn't great when it comes to assisting people who need help with depression but don't have a lot of money to spend on their care.

Does anyone know of any resources I can point him towards?

Thanks in advance for anything.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (3 answers total)
Is he from the country he's living in or from somewhere else?

If his native language isn't spoken in the country, or if he's from another culture, can he connect with expats or others from his cultural community? Are there any ways for him to make friends and get emotional support? In the US, I'd suggest Meetup groups, 12 step groups, serving or volunteering, and faith or spiritual communities. Anything like that there?

Can you connect him with a church or missionaries? Depending on the religion and cultural background, they might have a more Western approach to mental health, and a mandate to serve and help. In an acute situation it might be worth tolerating ideology differences.

What about using Skype to call emergency hotlines in another country, like the US?

Can he see a medical professional long enough to get meds, maybe by doing a trip to another country?

Or, I don't know much about spousal support laws, but can he have payments reduced or deferred in this time of acute pain and risk?
posted by ramenopres at 4:11 AM on December 31, 2016

I hope I'm not just replicating the research you've already done, but I saw a few things that I thought might be helpful.

First, can he ask his former therapist for recommendations? The former therapist might also be willing to work with him for reduced fees.

South Africa Depression and Anxiety Group - they have a section for support groups

South Africa Suicide Hotlines - if he's willing to call they might have knowledge of other resources too.

International Association for Suicide Prevention

Good luck to your friend, I hope he is able to find the help he needs.
posted by bunderful at 4:15 AM on December 31, 2016

A bit late as I only saw this thread now but try Lifeline.
posted by PenDevil at 4:43 AM on January 11, 2017

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