A group of students from the Red & Yellow Creative School of Business have initiated a novel campaign to draw attention to the stigma surrounding mental health that prevents many men from seeking help when they need it the most.
Kyle Deans and Jordan Lategan, first-year Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communications students from Red & Yellow, founded 60.4.60, a student-run campaign, to help raise awareness focusing on mental health for men in South Africa. Jake Banks and Benjamin Stannard, also first-year Red & Yellow students, are part of the success of the campaign as they are amplifying awareness each day via 60.4.60’s Instagram page.
According to the World Health Organisation, 13 774 suicides were reported in South Africa in 2019. Of these deaths, 10,861 were men while 2,913 were women. This translates to rates of 37.6 per 100 000 for men and 9.8 per 100,000 for women. South Africa recorded the third-highest suicide rate out of all African countries in the report, at 23.5 per 100 000 population.
The name of the campaign, 60.4.60, is based on global online research that shows 60 men die by suicide every 60 minutes of every day. Hence, during November, Deans, his team and supporters will run 60km in 30 days to honour men who had committed suicide, men who cannot speak out and men who battle with mental health.
The team was inspired by Henriëtte Rademan, lecturer at Red & Yellow, who organised a mini campaign brief to show students how art direction can make a difference in the world.
Deans said the 60.4.60 campaign is important to him because he struggled with anxiety from a young age.
“I sought professional help before talking with my friends about my challenges because I felt that they would not understand and, in general, men simply never talk about their mental health.
“After countless therapy sessions, I started speaking to my peers. We all regularly speak about our mental health. Some days are good, some are bad, but we have support from one another to help us.
“The biggest steps for me were to open up and fill my life with things that I love to do, be it my hobbies, college or my job. I am always out and about enjoying life and making memories with the people that I love. None of this would have been possible unless I spoke up and made my friends aware of my mental health,” he said.
His advice to men battling with mental health is to not suffer in silence, speak to your family or your peers and do not be afraid to seek professional help if you need it.
“There is no reason to be ashamed of mental health. After the last two years of lockdown, communication should be front and centre.
“Humans are social creatures by nature and having us all under ‘house arrest’ last year certainly did not do many people any favours in terms of their mental health. It is time for men to speak up about their mental health,” Deans said.
Deans encourages people to follow the campaign on Instagram, @60_for_sixty and anyone looking to get involved is encouraged to help spread the word.
He revealed that given the success of the campaign thus far, he and his team will take time off after November to plan their next initiative. He added men’s mental health is something that desperately needs awareness, and the rapid success of the 60.4.60 campaign is testament to that.
*** The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) is at the forefront of patient advocacy, education and destigmatisation of mental illness in the country. Its expertise lies in assisting patients and callers throughout South Africa with mental health queries. For counselling queries e-mail: email@example.com
For a suicidal Emergency contact us on 0800 567 567. 24hr Helpline 0800 456 789.