"Our support group offering is very close to our hearts, as support groups were the core of where it all began for SADAG," says the group. 

SADAG founder and director, Zane Wilson, following her own experience with years of undiagnosed panic disorder, realised how stigmatised mental illness was in South Africa and how little help and support was available to sufferers and loved ones.

Wilson decided to start a support group, which then became what is now known as the "The South African Depression and Anxiety Group". Fast forward 30 years, and now SADAG proudly hosts over 170 Free Support Groups nationwide.

SADAG says, "During Support Group Awareness Week, we aim to create more public awareness about these much-needed free mental health aftercare resources and their positive impact on their members and communities."

"This year's focus is on creating awareness, breaking down stigma and educating the public that people living with mental illness are so much more than their diagnosis, and more importantly, that their diagnosis doesn't define who they are and what they are capable of," says Wilson. 

"Our '#MoreThanMyDiagnosis' campaign showcases some of our phenomenal support group leaders living with mental illnesses who bravely put their faces to their names to 'Break the Stigma surrounding Mental Health'," says SADAG. 

"Showcasing interesting facts about them, what they have achieved, their quirks, likes and dislikes, and their diagnosis reinforces the idea that people are more than just their diagnosis," the group adds. 

"Sharing experiences enables us to give each other mutual support, normalise our experiences and collect practical information and coping methods. Group members offer each other emotional and practical support and reduce the sense of isolation that can be associated with mental illness and emotional struggles," says SADAG project manager Krystle Kemp.

SADAG has many different support groups, including groups for:
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • postnatal depression
  • family members and loved ones of children with ADHD
  • bipolar disorder, and
  • support groups for loved ones living with a mental illness. 

If you want to find out more about SADAG's Support Groups click here.

SADAG activities taking place during support group awareness week

Join SADAG's Instagram Live — "Together We Rise: The Power of Support Groups" — Wednesday, 24 January at 13:00.

SADAG offers a variety of young adult and student-related support groups.

"Starting to study at any tertiary institution, including Universities, PSETs, TVETs or a college can be a massive adjustment as students enter the adult world and become more independent. This can be incredibly challenging while simultaneously trying to find a balance between our social lives, studying and, in some cases, working simultaneously. We believe that peer support groups can assist students in this transitionary period," says Kemp.

SADAG says that the youth can greatly benefit from joining a young adult support group, for anyone between the ages of 18—35. To find out more about SADAG's young adult support groups, click here.

"Join us on Wednesday on our Instagram page as we chat with some of our SADAG Peer Support Group Leaders and discuss the benefits of joining a peer support group," says SADAG. 

To find more SADAG peer support groups, click here

Support Group Awareness Week —"Ask The Expert" — Friday, 26 January at 13:00.

SADAG is hosting a special '#FacebookFriday' online chat on Friday, 26 January at 13:00.

"During the LIVE online chat we will be joined by some of our incredible SADAG Support Group Leaders as we discuss the prejudices people living with mental illness face, and how having a mental illness should not be all defining of who we are as people," says SADAG. 

Individuals can join '#FacebookFriday' chat via SADAG's Facebook page — The South African Depression and Anxiety Group. To ask your questions anonymously, e-mail [email protected] and SADAG will post it on your behalf. Then, just watch the chat for answers.

Interested in joining a support group?

SADAG hosts over 170 Mental Health Support Groups around the country, both online and face-to-face. These groups provide a valuable resource where those living with a mental health-related illness are able to receive compassion, understanding and support.

If you are interested in joining a support group — whether it's face-to-face or online support groups — SADAG has a list of various free support groups you can join that are run by patients for patients. To find out more, click here

Interested in starting a support group

SADAG guides and trains new support group leaders on running a group step-by-step; including a free online six-part support group leader training and practical observation sessions.

If you are interested in starting a support group with SADAG, e-mail [email protected]

You can also learn more about starting a support group here.

For more information, visit www.sadag.org. You can also follow SADAG on Facebook, X or on Instagram