Get walking, start talking

Walk or cycle in October to gives to hope to those who suffer from mental illness.

Do you want to break the stigma and silence around depression as mental illness? Then join the Hope Hike and Hope Bike in October 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, depression 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 who lose their lives to suicide.

The annual economic cost of depression due to absenteeism and unproductivity is immense. A South African study found that on average, people with depression took 18 days sick leave as a result of their illness.

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.

To show you care, get walking and start talking. Join the Hope Hike and the Hope Bike to raise awareness of depression and make your contribution to break the silence and stigma surrounding depression and other mental illnesses.

This year, together with the Hope Hike, there’s also a Hope Bike for the mountain bike enthusiasts in your family to also do their part to raise awareness of mental health.

October is the World Health Organisation’s Mental Health Awareness Month. 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.

* The Hope Hike takes place on Sunday October 2, at Blaauwklippen Estate, on the R44, in Stellenbosch, and the Hope Bike fun ride is on Sunday October 9, at Van Gaalen’s, Skeerpoort.

The Hope Hike is 10km (entry is R80) and starts at 8am; the 5km (entry is R60) is at 8.30am; and the 3km (entry is R40) is at 8.40am. Children under 12 (for the 3km or 5 km) pay R30.

The Hope Bike 25km is R100, and starts at 7.45am.

Enter by logging on to and click on the Hope Hike/Hope Bike logo to ensure your place. Entries are limited. Registration begins at 6.30am.

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

For more information about the events, email entries@iqelaevents.