Get walking and let’s start talking about depression

Do you want to break the stigma and silence around depression as mental illness? Then join the Hope Hike and Hope Bike to help raise awareness around depression as clinical illness with a family-friendly fun walk or mountain bike trail.

One in five South Africans suffer from a mental illness, with some waiting up to 10 years before
seeking help. Depression is an illness, not a weakness, and can be treated.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), depression has increased by 18% in the past 10 years and is currently the third biggest global illness. Soon, in 2020, it will be the second biggest, and in 2030 the biggest.

According to one statistic, worldwide almost 350 million people suffer from clinical depression, with almost one million a year losing their lives to suicide.

According to one statistic, depression costs the South African economy R218 billion and the cause of 47% of early retirement and 32% of all sick leave.

The individual suffering of those who have to live with a debilitating, paralysing, and sometimes fatal illness, however, cannot be described through mere statistics.

Therefore, the sooner you recognise the symptoms and seek help, the sooner you can manage the disease with the help of therapy and medication.

Depression is an illness, not a weakness.

Tuesday October 10 is the WHO’s Mental Health Awareness Day. The Hope Hike and Hope Bike is your opportunity to help break the silence surrounding the disease of despair, to raise HOPE, and to spread the message that without mental health there is no health.

You can also be an Ambassador for Hope throughout October by wearing your “sky-blue for hope” awareness ribbon.

Join the Hope Hike and Bike and wear something blue to show you care.

Afterwards, enjoy the lovely eats and treats of the Blaauwklippen Sunday Market.

The fun ride is 25km, and starts at 7.45am, and costs R100 to enter. The 10km hike starts at 8am, and costs R100; the 5km hike starts at 8.30am and costs R60, and the 3km hike starts at 8.40am and costs R40; and for children under 12, the 3km or the 5km hike costs R40.

Enter at and click on the Hope Hike/Hope Bike logo.

Your entire entry fee goes toward the depression research fund of the Ithemba Foundation, a non-profit enterprise (Ithemba means hope in isiXhosa).

Registration begins at 6.30am. For more information, email

Professor Lizette Rabe is the founder of Ithemba, and the head of the Stellenbosch University Journalism Department.