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Crazy for Walking 2018



One in every three South Africans will suffer a mental health episode in their lifetime and about 75% of sufferers do not receive any help. Mental Illness is a combined descriptor given to several conditions including: Depression; Anxiety; Stress; Post-traumatic Stress; and Bipolar disorder.

The increasing incidence of suicide is alarming and affects all strata of society. There have recently been several high-profile suicides. Suicide is an unnatural cause of death and every step possible should be taken to avoid and/or prevent a suicide from taking place. The latest World Health Organisation statistics indicate:

  • Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year, (one person every 40 seconds)
  • Suicide is the No.1 cause of death for women in the age group 15-19
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally
  • Suicide is a global phenomenon; in fact, 78% of suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries in 2015.
  • Suicide accounted for 1.4% of all deaths worldwide, making it the 17th leading cause of death, globally, in 2015.
  • There are indications that for each adult who dies of suicide there may have been more than 20 others attempting suicide
  • Ingestion of poisons, hanging and firearms are amongst the most common methods of suicide globally

Crazy for Walking is an initiative aimed at de-stigmatizing Mental Illness through broadening the awareness and understanding of Mental Illness. “Last year, we walked from Pretoria to Cape Town, a crazy feat in itself when you consider that there are many easier ways of getting from the one city to the other,” says Francois Louw, CEO of the Crazy for Walking initiative. “You see, it’s not crazy to have a Mental Illness, but walking from Pretoria to Cape Town, now that’s crazy.”

At towns all along the route from Pretoria to Cape Town, free talks about Mental Health were given by experts, and these were very well attended. The walk culminated with the arrival of the walkers in the V&A Waterfront on 10 October, which is World Mental Health Day.

“We’re aiming to remove the hurtful sting of the word “crazy” when it is associated with Mental Illness, and to educate and inform people about Mental Health.

The walking element of the campaign falls in line with one of the elements of the “Happiness HELPS” tool, which is a guideline to follow for better mental health. The HELPS elements are:

  • Help others
  • Exercise (where the walking comes in)
  • Learn
  • Play
  • Spiritual Growth

This year, the initiative aims to involve the public with various walking events around the country in the week 3to 10 October.

Bloemfontein event – Riemland challenge hosted by Bloemcare & Nurture Health

Cape Town Mountain walk event – Table Mountain walk hosted by Crescent Clinic #walk the mountain

Cape Town Mall walks – hosted by Life Path Health group

Pretoria event – Union Buildings challenge hosted by Denmar & Vista Clinic

A Crazy for Walking App will be released in September and this app will allow people to not only keep track of the number of steps that they walk, but to challenge friends, colleagues, family members, competitors, etc. to get out and get walking. “All the steps that are taken using the App will be totaled in a quest to do something really crazy – Walk to Mars” says Louw. “The shortest distance between the Earth and Mars is 56 million kilometres. This means that we will need to get about 75 billion steps walked in order to reach our goal”

In addition to walking, you can show your support for Mental Health by wearing your craziest, funkiest socks on 10 October – Crazy Socks Day – and be part of the fun by sharing pics of your socks on various social media platforms. Just by wearing your crazy socks, you will be playing a role in de-stigmatizing Mental Illness and taking a step towards broadening awareness of- and empathy towards- Mental Illness.