The Ithemba Foundation


Newsletter February 2024


Work-life balance – do it now!

Now is the time to look after yourself and get that so-called work-life balance, well … in balance. You know what we mean. If not, it can lead to severe mental and physical health problems. Please look after yourself – you are the only self you have! In a country such as South Korea, known for its workaholic culture, suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged between 10 and 39. Read more here and here, and remember, it all starts with burnout – read more here and here.



Please keep our children safe

Social media’s “dismal history of child abuse” was only one of many accusations against so-called BigTech – Meta (Facebook), TikTok, Snapchat, Discord and X (formerly Twitter) – in yet another hearing by the US Senate Judiciary Committee on 31 January. Social media platforms are not only addictive, but can cause real harm to our children. Mental health issues have soared because of the impact of social media, resulting in actions ranging from self-harm to suicide. Please ask your school to hold information sessions on how our children can be empowered against the real dangers on social media – including so-called “cyber-grooming”. For more on the recent hearings on “Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis”, read more here and here, also here



And now … the simple art of doing nothing

It is called the Dutch art of “niksen” – meaning doing absolutely nothing. Doing nothing – but with a purpose to do nothing, or even no purpose at all – might help to decrease anxiety, boost creativity, and, yes, increase productivity. So, start doing NOTHING – “niksen” sounds just right to us! Read more here and here.



Another public health crisis: Mental health and new mothers

Ithemba will highlight the importance of mental health for pregnant and postpartum women in 2024, as it is the subject of frequent media reports lately. In each of our quarterly newsletters we will include a quotation from someone working closely with this issue to mainstream perinatal mental health, to humanise and normalise it, and to help those mothers who are suffering in silence because of the fear of “coming out”. Because aren’t they supposed to be the picture of bliss with their little bundles of joy? Perhaps they feel unworthy of getting support, or they distrust the support that is available.


Professor Simone Honikman, director of the Perinatal Mental Health Project at the University of Cape Town, says: “In South Africa, about 20-30% of women will experience depression and/or anxiety during pregnancy and in the year or two after the birth of their babies. This is a public health crisis that affects the woman and her family and, potentially, the next generation. We have evidence on what works, and we know that mental health services need to be integrated into maternal and child healthcare. However, we need to address the lack of will and the lack of human and financial resources that prevent us from addressing the problem.”

You can contact Lifeline on 0861 322 322, or find a psychologist or psychiatrist close to you on Sadag’s 24-hour helpline is 0800 456 789 or 0800 567 567, or sms 31393.



And lastly, please save these dates

Our annual CrazySocs4Docs Day will be on Friday, 7 June; we will participate in the Cape Town Marathon’s various events on 19 and 20 October to highlight the importance of mental health, and lastly, our Hope Hike (5, 10 or 17 km) will be on Sunday, 27 October to end off Mental Health Awareness Month in style!



ITHEMBA FOUNDATION - NPC 2012/171250/08 - PBO 930/048/019