SPONSORED: Cipla aims to promote awareness around mental health in SA

Local fashion-forward campaign aims to break the stigma around mental illness.

20 December 2018: Research suggests that the attitude towards people with mental illness became more stigmatised over the past few decades,1 driving the incorrect portrayal of individuals with mental illness as violent, dangerous, psychologically unstable and unfit to work.

However, mental illness is not a visible condition and individuals are stigmatised when they seek help. This, unfortunately, results in many people purposefully avoiding medical diagnosis and treatment of these conditions, out of fear of being labelled.1

Wouter Lombard, Cipla’s Associate Director – Marketing for the Central Nervous System portfolio, says this is exactly why so many people suffer in silence.

According to a study on lifetime prevalence of psychiatric disorders an estimate of 30.3% of South Africans will suffer from a mental disorder during their lifetime.3  Lombard says this highlights the need to educate South Africans about mental health, and the fact that depression is a serious medical condition. “Just as any other organ in the body can become ill, so can the brain.”

To assist in destigmatising mental illness in South Africa, Cipla launched a mental health campaign across various platforms. 

One of the key elements, in an effort to offer help to those in need, is a free counselling helpline (0800 456 789) in collaboration with SADAG. Cipla also partnered with prominent fashion designer, Nokana Mojape, to launch a limited-edition range of T-shirts that will drive awareness about mental health.

“The range of T-shirts features messages such as ‘#DONTLABELME’ and ‘it’s ok to not be ok’ in an effort to encourage conversation around mental challenges,” says Lombard.  

The limited-edition T-shirts, which range from R499.99 to R749.99, are on sale online at Dipstreet as well as in store at Dipstreet in Parkhust and Braamfontein.

“The fear of stigma around mental illness is a pervasive barrier that prevents many individuals from getting treatment.1 It is therefore vital for everyone to work together in breaking this stigma by creating a supportive culture and acceptance around mental conditions,” concludes Lombard. 


1. Rüsch, N. et al. Mental illness stigma: Concepts, consequences, and initiatives to reduce stigma. 20, 529–539 (2005).
2. gbe, C. O. et al. Psychiatric stigma and discrimination in South Africa: perspectives from key stakeholders. 1–14 (2014).
3. Stein, D. et al. Lifetime prevalence of psychiatric disorders in South Africa. 192, 112–117 (2009).


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