Mental Health Awareness and Haemophilia – 7 climbers set out during July 2018. The Incredible Feat: Climbing one of the most daunting mountains to Create Awareness for Mental Health.  #kilionpurpose 2018 – A melting pot of different personalities, abilities, and purposes, amongst them.

During August 2018, Taryn-lee Kearney attempted to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. Her motivation was to make a difference. To find the courage to stand up for those with mental illness, and to break the stigma of talking openly about mental illness in order to create positive awareness. Perhaps, also to inspire her own special Mamma to be brave enough to stand up against the stigma, and in so doing to break through her own negative perception of her illness.

Why Kilimanjaro?

  • SADAG released research around Stigma in the SA Workplace some 2 years ago which revealed that 1 in 4 South African employees had been diagnosed with Depression.
  • Mental disorders, the associated stigma and the failure of South African government institutions to adequately provide for South Africa’s mentally ill receive far too little media coverage.
  • According to SADAG, one in five South Africans will suffer from a mental health problem at some time in their life.

“My my mission is to #break the stigma. Labels and unfair treatment are the results of what we call stigma. Stigma stems from negative and incorrect beliefs, or stereotypes, about groups of people. People with mental illness often experience stigma. It was because of these very labels that my Mom, in the beginning stages of Bipolar with major depression, chose not to seek help and tried instead to end her life. If you are suffering from a mental illness, know this: You are not an illness. You have an individual story to tell. You have a name, a history, a personality. Staying yourself is part of the battle! Together we are stronger and together we can break the stigma. If you have been impacted by a loved one or friend who is suffering from any mental illness, then know this – we need far more openness, transparency and understanding, to talk about it in society” Ms Kearney said. 

World Mental Health Day – 10 October 2018
A day to highlight the many facets of mental health care

What About Mental Health
What is mental health illness? It is just that – an illness, a medical condition, just as diabetes or cancer is.

  • An illness that can be managed with the correct medication incorporated with lifestyle changes.
  • An illness that needs the love and support from others, not their ridicule or cruel remarks.
  • An illness that requires educating and raising of awareness through breaking the stigma, to prevent unnecessary deaths, where in some cases people, especially our youth, may be too embarrassed to speak openly about their mental health illness. 

Mental health illnesses range from depression, bipolar, PTSD, trauma, panic & anxiety, to postnatal depression, ADHD & OCD and suicidal tendencies.

Depression is probably the most common form of mental health illness. What is depression?  The dictionary provides many synonyms, but in brief, depression is described as feelings of severe despondency and dejection. “self-doubt creeps in and that swiftly turns to depression”

A depression sufferer may experience ‘loss of joy’, of feeling ‘numb or dead inside’.

Synonyms: melancholy, misery, sadness, unhappiness, sorrow, woe, gloom, gloominess, dejection, downheartedness, despondency, dispiritedness, low spirits, heavy-heartedness, moroseness, discouragement, despair, desolation, dolefulness, moodiness, pessimism, hopelessness; the slough of despond; upset, tearfulness; technical clinical depression, endogenous depression, reactive depression, postnatal depression, dysthymia, melancholia;

Why? Stigma
There is often a misguided perception and stigma attached to mental illness. Often due to unfair or untrue assumptions or simply as a result of a lack of knowledge, the person is labelled as ‘crazy’ ‘psycho’ or ‘mad’.

Help On The Horizon: The Coping Mechanisms
The good news is that there is hope for those that struggle on a daily basis with mental illness. For example, a rehabilitation center, would facilitate healing and wellness through a structured programmed of strict routines, including attending classes on occupational health, stress, cognitive behaviour techniques, learning all there is to know about the illness and how to manage it, as well as sleep hygiene, life coping skills such as time management, managing chronic medication and finally adopting a whole new lifestyle. 

Life Lessons – What The Mountain Taught Me

  1. I am worthy!
  2. Find your people and love them with all your heart!
  3. Stop apologising and be willing to accept help!
  4. Appreciate what you have and encourage those around you
  5. Sometimes you need to walk with your mountain before you can conquer it!
  6. Mental distraction like positive self-talk or pursuing a hobby can help eliminate negative thoughts when going through a challenge. On the mountain Taryn used the simple process of counting 1.2.3
  7. Failure does not exist but courage does! Have the courage to share your story
  8. How would you live differently if you really believed that nothing is impossible for you?

Mental Challenges Experienced On The Climb
Staying yourself is part of the battle. Everyone needs help, even strong people cannot carry the weight of the world by themselves. Break the stigma. Support mental health awareness, and help save a life! We, as communities, families and individuals are all impacted by mental health illnesses. Start by bringing the topic of Mental health into your conversations, society needs to be made aware, and you could be the voice of reason. You could make a difference. 

Feeling depressed, suicidal, hopeless?

Visit SADAG The South African Depression and Anxiety Group website at or for a suicidal emergency contact 0800 567 567.

CONTACT SADAG – The South African Depression and Anxiety Group

  • For counselling queries e-mail:
  • To contact a counsellor between 8am-8pm Monday to Sunday, Call: 011 234 4837 / Fax number: 011 234 8182
  • For a suicidal emergency contact us on 0800 567 567
  • 24hr Helpline 0800 12 13 14

For further Frequently Asked Questions – visit the website –

SADAG is Africa’s largest mental health support and advocacy group.

Date published: 03/10/2018
Written by: Taryn-Lee Kearney, Corporate Training & Professional/Motivational Speaking & Coaching., If you are interested in doing a story on mental health awareness i.e. interview Taryn-lee Kearney; please don’t hesitate to contact | 082 799 2314
Feature image: Taryn-Lee Kearney


  1. Dagsê Depressie Dankie vir jou kommentaar. Indien jy angstig of depressief voel en graag met iemand wil gesels, is jy welkom om SADAG (die Suid-Afrikaanse Depressie- en Angsgroep) te kontak. Hulle het opgeleide beraders wat jou deurgaans kan bystaan. Kontak hulle hier: 011 234 4837 of 0800 20 50 26 of stuur ‘n e-pos aan . Baie sterkte! Groetnis Tania nms Maroela Media


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