The desperation of caring for the mentally ill

accreditation
Mental illness places a strain on families.
Mental illness places a strain on families.

Seipati Radimo (21) says caring for her mentally ill mother affects her school performance by causing her to lose focus.

“She becomes well for two years and then she becomes sick again,” says Radimo, who says her mother used to be a traditional healer and helped many people in the community. 

'It hurts a lot'

Radimo says her mother went to the traditional initiation school when she was a young woman and later went to the school of traditional medicine to be initiated as a traditional healer. It is then that her mother started to become ill.

Her mother experiences episodes when she behaves strangely. She appears in Radimo’s class at school. “My peers laugh at me while others pity me. It hurts a lot,” said Radimo, an only child who lives with her mother.

“When my mother is sick, she burns the clothes and furniture at our house. The family takes her to the mental home when she has a breakdown, and she returns when she has recovered,” said Radimo, who usually goes to stay with her uncle when this happens.

More awareness needed

She admits it is not easy to cope with the burden of embarrassment and shame, but she is comforted and supported by her relatives and friends who provide their support.

Radimo has started making use of a community radio station to make an announcement when her mother disappears, calling for the community to help when they see her.  She believes the community still needs awareness around mental health. – Health-e News.

Image credit: iStock

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes
29% - 9743 votes
No
71% - 23844 votes
Vote