Miss South Africa 2020 Shudufhadzo Musida will launch her online mental health initiative #MindfulMondays on 8 February.
Shudufhadzo – who announced that she would be focusing on raising awareness around mental health when she was crowned Miss South Africa – will speak to various experts on a diverse range of topics related to the subject on Instagram on Monday evenings at 19:00.
The programme is hosted in conjunction with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) and will launch on Shudu’s Instagram profile @shudufhadzomusida.
Her first guest will be clinical psychologist and SADAG board member Zamo Mbele whose conversation focuses on mental health. Their discussion will include the difference between mental health and mental illness; mental health stats in South Africa; how it impacts people; what are some of the different types of mental health issues; who treats them; what resources are available and how Covid-19 has affected mental health.
On Monday, 15 February, the focus will be on teen depression to mark Teen Suicide Prevention Week. Shudu’s guest will be GP and social media influencer Dr Sindi van Zyl who will talk about teen depression, its causes and symptoms; are boys and girls affected differently; how does one identify the warning signs for suicide; how to start the conversation with a friend or child about depression or suicide and how does one get help if you, or someone you know is thinking of suicide.
Dr Colinda Linde and Shudu will discuss the difference between anxiety, stress and worry (and how mindfulness can help people cope). They’ll look at a wide range of issues, including panic attacks; what happens when you don’t treat anxiety; medications and self-help tips. The stigma surrounding mental health will be the focus when a SADAG psychologist and Shudu tackle the stigma around mental health and how we start to break it.
Charity Mokoene and Shudu’s subject is understanding depression and its causes and symptoms; how is depression linked to the body; what treatment is available and what you can do if you believe a friend or family member is suffering from it.
Shudu has always been candid about how bullying affected her mental health: “The bullying happened when I moved to a new school. Before the age of nine, I was a bubbly little girl, but then people found it okay to bring me down at a time when I was only trying to discover myself. The ramifications were enormous,” she says.
During the bullying, Shudu started to dress like a boy. “It got to the point where I thought if I covered up and didn’t draw too much attention to myself, maybe it would stop. I developed low self-esteem and it took me a long time to realise that it was actually never about me but about the people who were doing the bullying.”
“For me, personally, mental health is something that is not really spoken about. Unfortunately, it is considered a taboo subject that is often engaged with, not to rehabilitate but to shame, so I want to bring that conversation into the open. It’s time our society stands together to confront this,” she says.
She will host the open, live and frank discussions on Instagram. Her conversations will also be available later on the Miss South Africa social media platforms, YouTube, misssa.live and as podcasts.
Shudu reveals she has another project close to her heart which she will launch in March. “I have been working on this since I was crowned Miss South Africa while also completing my honours in International Relations at the University of Witwatersrand. I am thrilled with the result and cannot wait to reveal the end product. I have put my heart and soul into it,” she says.