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Tina Van Der Walt

“I always say, if you had asked me 10 years ago what depression was, I would have said there is no such thing and I have heard the same from so many people that have never really experienced mental illness.

It was only after being diagnosed with depression and being impacted by the stigma attached to it, that I was able to empathise with others in the same situation. I can now say, thanks to an amazing group of people, I am not just able to cope better mentally, but also identify and support others with mental health challenges. The empathy and care I received inspired me to get involved by volunteering with SADAG..I am now a Group Leader in a support group for people suffering with depression and anxiety and my journey started three years ago, as the first member needing support. Through sharing experiences with “like minded” people, identifying and understanding their emotions, I am able to better manage my own mental health and support members on their journey to recovery. It is amazing to be part of and see the transformation in sufferers as they get exposed to the compassion from the other members in the group.”

Tina Van Der Walt shared their story as part of the Empathy and Hope Project, an immersive art exhibition on the impact of our social environments on the health of our minds. Chapter 2 of this traveling exhibition will be hosted in Durban, South Africa from 12 March – 03 May 2020, featuring photographic art works by Thabiso Sekgala, Lindokuhle Sobekwa, Witness Change & a Refugee Centre in Durban. More details and updates are available on the facebook page: www.facebook.com/empathyhopeproject/