Supporting the Mental Health of South African NPO's


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Mental Health Information



What is trauma?

Trauma is the result of an overwhelming amount of stress that makes you feel like you can’t cope or process emotions involved with a certain experience or event.  Psychological trauma is damage to the mind that occurs as a result of a distressing event.

Self-help for trauma:      

  • Get some exercise: Exercise is a great way to help you feel better and lift your mood, while at the same time improving your health.
  • Get enough sleep: Go to bed at the same time every night and keep your bedroom dark and quiet.  Stay away from caffeine and sugar and exercising before bedtime.       
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet: Eat a variety of foods.  A healthy meal includes protein (meat, chicken or fish), starch (potatoes, pap etc.) and vegetables.  Try and eat small meals through the day, snacking on fruit.
  • Write something: Writing can also help you feel better. Keep lists of everyday feelings and emotions. Record of your dreams and a list of what you do every day and what you hope to achieve in the future. Don't worry about how well you write or your spelling, just let your thoughts flow.  Writing about the trauma or traumatic events also helps you to release feelings and emotions. It allows you to safely process the emotions you are experiencing. It tells your mind that you are taking care of the situation and helps you to get rid of the stress associated with the trauma.
  • Keep to a routine: It is important to keep in a regular everyday routine by doing simple things like getting out of bed at the same time each day, making your bed, dressing, making breakfast, doing household jobs etc.
  • Love yourself: Wake up in the morning and even if you feel silly, look yourself in the mirror and say ‘I love you’. It is important for you to love and take care of yourself.  Don’t blame yourself for things that have gone wrong or be hard on yourself for your past choices.  Be patient with yourself by setting small realistic goals, and when you achieve them be proud of yourself.   
  • Try and see situations differently: It is important to see things differently instead of always jumping to negative conclusions. If you stop jumping to negative conclusions it will help you to feel less stressed and happier about life.
  • Be in the moment: Many of us spend so much time thinking about the past or imagining the future, that we miss out on fully experiencing what is going on right now. Make an effort to focus your attention on what you are doing right now and what is happening around you. Pay attention to what you can see, hear, smell and touch.


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