AFTER he realised that some his friends and family members were suffering with depression, Kokstad resident, Mfuneko Mthi (35) decided to do something about it. He initiated a social media group called “Depression is Real” to seek help for sufferers. Since he established the group in February 2018, he now has over 1 000 followers on Facebook.Mthi went through his own battle with depression between 2016 and 2017 and said he finally healed after sharing his pain. He said many young people and teenagers have died because of depression. “The group has received lots of support from victims who have suffered from depression. Other organisations that help people to fight depression have also supported my Facebook page and given assistance to those in need. I believe depression can be defeated if people attend healing sessions,” he said.According to Mthi, most people ignore depression and some prefer not to speak about it or its effects on their lives. The Kokstad resident works in the Department of Correctional Services in the Kokstad Management Area and during his spare time, he collects school shoes and uniforms to help rural children who cannot afford proper uniforms.He started this initiative in 2015 when he saw a child walking to school on foot. In 2015, he delivered 30 pairs school shoes to pupils of a rural school in Mbizana, 70 pupils benefitted from his campaign in 2016, and a further 280 pupils in 2017. “My friends, companies and organisations are helping to make sure the campaign is successful. Last year, I partnered with the Department of Correctional Services when 280 pairs of shoes were donated to local Kokstad schools.” This year, he donated 420 pairs of shoes to schools and is now raising money to help pupils for next year. He said working for the Department of Correctional Services has helped him to interact more confidently with inmates and help them to solve some of their problems. He said many inmates are now attending educational skills workshops after he had motivated them.