Human Trafficking

South Africa is a hotbed for the billion dollar human trafficking industry.

Even worse, experts say parents often play a role in the modern-day slavery of their own babies and children.

People are sold for muti and organ “donation”, babies and children are used for sexual exploitation, cheap labour and even forced marriage.

In Durban, police have found girls as young as 12 years old selling their young bodies on the streets.

The Centre for International Policy’s Global Financial Integrity programme estimated last year that global human trafficking accounted for R230 million of illicit trade, only one third behind drugs and counterfeit goods.

In 2000, social workers and officers of the Child Protection Unit estimated there were 28 000 child prostitutes in South Africa.

Joan van Niekerk from Childline says they are still trying to assess exactly how many people have been caught up in the human trade.

“However, it is a significant problem in South and Southern Africa and is fed by our high levels of poverty, orphanhood and parental irresponsibility,” she says.

According to Barbara Ras, founder of the Atlantis Women’s Movement and a shelter for trafficked victims in Atlantis, there has been an increase in numbers.

“In 2009, we had 16 trafficking victims, in 2010, 35, and last year we had 67,” she tells the Daily Voice.

“I think the reason for this spike is that no one is making a noise about it, our courts are too quiet.”

Recently a Joburg teenager told of how she escaped a child trafficking ring.

The 16-year-old girl was kidnapped in Bramley last year by four men.

After being drugged, she was taken to Khayelitsha where she was raped, beaten, threatened and told she would be put to work as a prostitute.

After two months, she managed to escape and was reunited with her family.

The Hawks are currently investigating the case.

Barbara says traffickers especially target women and children from rural areas, and often lure them away under the pretext of jobs in the big city.

“These people are poor, there are no jobs, some parents are alcoholics and don’t take care of their children,” says Barbara.

“These are innocent girls who go away to work because they think they can get a better life and escape the poverty cycle.”

She says trafficking rings are more sophisticated than people think.

“There’s a whole network of people involved – recruiters, taxi drivers, the person waiting in the city, etc. There are even women that help with the trafficking of children and other women,” she explains.

“However, girls are also taken from malls, bus stops and taxi ranks.”

Barbara says traffickers treat the girls well in order to gain their trust.

“The girls are drugged – it’s placed in their food and drinks – so by the time they realise they are in trouble, it is far too late,” she says.

“While they are drugged, they are raped and photos are taken of them, which is used to blackmail them.

“Their clothes and shoes are taken away, so that they don’t escape.

“Some of these girls don’t even have breasts yet.

“They are brought into Cape Town and dropped off in places like Athlone and Goodwood for domestic work where they are treated like slaves.”

Barbara adds: “In other cases, they are taken to clubs and brothels where they are kept drugged, beaten and abused.

“They are kept prisoner and are constantly watched.

“Some girls are even sold from person to person – this problem is bigger than we realise and this came to light through the active work of the City’s Vice Squad.”

Barbara says trafficking is done by both local and foreign perpetrators.

“One of the biggest contributing factors to trafficking is that there is too much free access to our borders,” she says.

“We need more border control and national government must make sure we get our specialised units back – we really need them.”

Meanwhile, organisations have called on Parliament to finalise the Prevention and Combating Trafficking in Persons Bill, also known as the TIP Bill.

Currently offenders are charged with sexual abuse, rape and kidnapping.

According to Molo Songololo, a large number of cases gets dismissed in court due to lack of evidence, poor investigations, poor cooperation from witnesses (victims), and the length of the prosecution process.

“Another danger is when these perpetrators are arrested but not convicted, they come back and search for these girls because they know too much,” adds Barbara.

“The scars never heal for these children, many are so damaged that they go back to the streets and prostitute themselves.

“Traffickers are unscrupulous people and they must be brought to book. And if people know about it, they must speak out.”

* Getting help to abused victims

Joan van Niekerk of Childline urges everyone to be vigilant against traffickers.

“Be alert – keep an eye on children in your community and, in keeping with the spirit of Ubuntu, see every child as your child,” she explains.

Look out for signs of abuse, bruises and a fear of different people.

If you are worried about a situation, contact:

* The South African Police – 10111

* Childline/Lifeline – 08000 55555

* Molo Songololo – 021 448 5421

* Safeline – 08000 35553

* Cape Town Child Welfare – 021 638 3127

* The Trauma Centre – 021 465 7373

* Molo Songololo, Patrick Child Line – 08000 55555

* The Child Trauma Centre – 021 556 9556

* Jelly Beanz Inc – 082-jelly-00 (082 5355 900)

* The Salvation Army – 021 761 8530/1/2/3/4/5

* Rape Crisis – Athlone 021 447 9762 and in Khayelitsha 021 361 9085.

* How these sinister syndicates operate

A victim of human trafficking is defined as someone who is being forced or being lied to and then moved (from their home) in order to be exploited for sexual purposes (rape, porn, prostitution), cheap labour or their body parts, among other purposes.

In some cases, the person can be trafficked without being moved, “ownership” of the person changes from trafficker to trafficker at a fixed location.

Parents act as traffickers of their own children by allowing others to sexually exploit them for financial reasons such as paying off debts.

In rural areas, parents are found to sell daughters as child brides.

The Network Against Child Labour estimates that there are 400 000 children working in South Africa.

According to the Human Rights Committee, child labour is everywhere, from taxi ranks to farms and coal yards.

They are forced to work brutal hours that adults are protected against simply because they have no recourse to the law.

Their average pay is R10 a day.

Sex exploiters pay anything from R10 to R150 to traffickers for access to a child’s body.

Reports say human trafficking is mostly TO South Africa and it is organised by international crime syndicates from Africa, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe.

http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/shocking-reality-of-sa-human-trafficking-1224202

International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 2017

The United Nations General Assembly in 1987 decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) selects themes for the International Day and launches campaigns to raise awareness about the global drug problem. Health is the ongoing theme of the world drug campaign.

The South African government and its partners are implementing the National Drug Master Plan, 2013-2017, which is a collective effort towards a South Africa that is free of drug abuse. The drug master plan is a single document covering all national concerns regarding drug control; summarising national policies authoritatively, and defining priorities and allocating responsibility for drug control efforts (United Nations Drug Control Programme). The National Drug Master Plan prioritises strategies on demand reduction, supply reduction and harm reduction.

The Master Plan serves as the country’s blueprint for preventing and reducing alcohol and substance abuse and its associated social and economic consequences on South African society, and builds on the foundation laid down by government’s Programme of Action on alcohol and substance abuse.

The key outcomes of the five year National Drug Master Plan are:

  • reduction of the bio-socio-economic impact of substance abuse and related illnesses on the South African population
  • ability of all people in South Africa to deal with problems related to substance abuse within communities
  • recreational facilities and diversion programmes that prevent vulnerable populations from becoming substance dependents
  • reduced availability of substance dependence-forming drugs and alcoholic beverages
  • development and implementation of multi-disciplinary and multi-modal protocols and practices for integrated diagnosis and treatment of substance dependence and co-occurring disorders and for funding such diagnosis and treatment.

Harmonisation and enforcement of laws and policies to facilitate effective governance of the alcohol and drug supply chain.

The Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Act (Act 20 of 1992) and the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act (Act 70 of 2008), provides for the establishment of programmes for the prevention and treatment of drug dependency.

The Central Drug Authority was established as an advisory body in terms of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act (Act No. 70 of 2008) and is mandated to assist in the fight against substance abuse in the country.

Alcohol abuse is a complex socio-economic issue that requires a multi-stakeholder and integrated approach towards a drug free society, captured in the National Drug Master Plan. Creating awareness of dangers of the substance abuse in society and effecting behavioural change are integral parts of the National Drug Master Plan.

What you can do

Government calls on all South Africans to join hands in the implementation of the national programme of action against substance and alcohol abuse.

  • Community support is extremely important to prevent, treat, rehabilitate and accept those addicted to substances. Help break the stigma and promote faster recovery.
  • Be a good role model and empower young people to deal with life challenges to buffer substance abuse.
  • Be a messenger – provide factual information on the negative socio-economic effects of substance abuse to bring about behavioural changes.
  • The carnage on South Africa’s roads can be reduced drastically if adults drink responsibly.
  • Don’t drink and drive – Arrive Alive!
  • Celebrate year end festivities soberly and responsibly:  Don’t turn a night out into a nightmare.
  • Say NO to drugs.
  • Partner with government volunteer and support rehabilitation programmes to increase access to information for affected individuals and communities.

 

Facts

  • There is a burden of “secondary risks”, including injury, premature non-natural deaths, foetal alcohol syndrome (FASD).
  • Research indicates that social costs of alcohol related trauma and accidents far exceed those of other countries and that intoxication was a major factor in road accidents. According to the South African Revenue Service the known direct cost of drug abuse in 2005 was roughly R101 000 million.
  • The social cost of illicit drug use was calculated using international data and is approximately R136 380 million annually.
  • The relationship between alcohol and illegal drugs, crime, and violence is both direct and complex. In 2007, more than 47% of victims of homicide tested positively for alcohol at the time of death. Alcohol makes people vulnerable to crime.
  • 8.4 per cent (2.2 million) of the South African population used cannabis in 2004 as against the global norm of 4 per cent; 8.9 per cent (2.5 million) used cannabis in 2005/6 and 3.2 million used in 2008, an increase of nearly 20 per cent.

 

The Effects of Smoking on the Body

Body

Tobacco smoke is enormously harmful to your health. There’s no safe way to smoke. Replacing your cigarette with a cigar, pipe, or hookah won’t help you avoid the health risks associated with tobacco products.

Cigarettes contain about 600 ingredients. When they burn, they generate more than 7,000 chemicals, according to the American Lung Association. Many of those chemicals are poisonous and at least 69 of them can cause cancer. Many of the same ingredients are found in cigars and in tobacco used in pipes and hookahs. According to the National Cancer Institute, cigars have a higher level of carcinogens, toxins, and tar than cigarettes.

When using a hookah pipe, you’re likely to inhale more smoke than you would from a cigarette. Hookah smoke has many toxic compounds and exposes you to more carbon monoxide than cigarettes do. Hookahs also produce more secondhand smoke.

In the United States, the mortality rate for smokers is three times that of people who never smoked, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s one of the leading causes of preventable death.

Central Nervous System

One of the ingredients in tobacco is a mood-altering drug called nicotine. Nicotine reaches your brain in mere seconds. It’s a central nervous system stimulant, so it makes you feel more energized for a little while. As that effect subsides, you feel tired and crave more. Nicotine is habit forming.

Smoking increases risk of macular degeneration, cataracts, and poor eyesight. It can also weaken your sense of taste and sense of smell, so food may become less enjoyable.

Your body has a stress hormone called corticosterone, which lowers the effects of nicotine. If you’re under a lot of stress, you’ll need more nicotine to get the same effect.

Physical withdrawal from smoking can impair your cognitive functioning and make you feel anxious, irritated, and depressed. Withdrawal can also cause headaches and sleep problems.

Respiratory System

When you inhale smoke, you’re taking in substances that can damage your lungs. Over time, your lungs lose their ability to filter harmful chemicals. Coughing can’t clear out the toxins sufficiently, so these toxins get trapped in the lungs. Smokers have a higher risk of respiratory infections, colds, and flu.

In a condition called emphysema, the air sacs in your lungs are destroyed. In chronic bronchitis, the lining of the tubes of the lungs becomes inflamed. Over time, smokers are at increased risk of developing these forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Long-term smokers are also at increased risk of lung cancer.

Withdrawal from tobacco products can cause temporary congestion and respiratory pain as your lungs begin to clear out.

Children whose parents smoke are more prone to coughing, wheezing, and asthma attacks than children whose parents don’t. They also tend to have more ear infections. Children of smokers have higher rates of pneumonia and bronchitis.

Cardiovascular System

Smoking damages your entire cardiovascular system. When nicotine hits your body, it gives your blood sugar a boost. After a short time, you’re left feeling tired and craving more. Nicotine causes blood vessels to tighten, which restricts the flow of blood (peripheral artery disease). Smoking lowers good cholesterol levels and raises blood pressure, which can result in stretching of the arteries and a buildup of bad cholesterol (atherosclerosis). Smoking raises the risk of forming blood clots.

Blood clots and weakened blood vessels in the brain increase a smoker’s risk of stroke. Smokers who have heart bypass surgery are at increased risk of recurrent coronary heart disease. In the long term, smokers are at greater risk of blood cancer (leukemia).

There’s a risk to nonsmokers, too. Breathing secondhand smoke has an immediate effect on the cardiovascular system. Exposure to secondhand smoke increases your risk of stroke, heart attack, and coronary heart disease.

Skin, Hair, and Nails (Integumentary System)

Some of the more obvious signs of smoking involve the skin. The substances in tobacco smoke actually change the structure of your skin. Smoking causes skin discoloration, wrinkles, and premature aging. Your fingernails and the skin on your fingers may have yellow staining from holding cigarettes. Smokers usually develop yellow or brown stains on their teeth. Hair holds on to the smell of tobacco long after you put your cigarette out. It even clings to nonsmokers.

Digestive System

Smokers are at great risk of developing oral problems. Tobacco use can cause gum inflammation (gingivitis) or infection (periodontitis). These problems can lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, and bad breath.

Smoking also increases risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx, and esophagus. Smokers have higher rates of kidney cancer and pancreatic cancer. Even cigar smokers who don’t inhale are at increased risk of mouth cancer.

Smoking also has an effect on insulin, making it more likely that you’ll develop insulin resistance. That puts you at increased risk of type 2 diabetes. When it comes to diabetes, smokers tend to develop complications at a faster rate than nonsmokers.

Smoking also depresses appetite, so you may not be getting all the nutrients your body needs. Withdrawal from tobacco products can cause nausea.

Sexuality and Reproductive System

Restricted blood flow can affect a man’s ability to get an erection. Both men and women who smoke may have difficulty achieving orgasm and are at higher risk of infertility. Women who smoke may experience menopause at an earlier age than nonsmoking women. Smoking increases a woman’s risk of cervical cancer.

Smokers experience more complications of pregnancy, including miscarriage, problems with the placenta, and premature delivery.

Pregnant mothers who are exposed to secondhand smoke are also more likely to have a baby with low birth weight. Babies born to mothers who smoke while pregnant are at greater risk of low birth weight, birth defects, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Newborns who breathe secondhand smoke suffer more ear infections and asthma attacks.

 

Source: http://www.healthline.com/health/smoking/effects-on-body

 

About Malaria

Malaria SSP 2017

 

There are many sources of information on the internet that cover extensively all aspects of malaria. We have only attempted here to answer the main questions people have. Links further down the page will direct you to further information sources.

Top 10 Questions

  1. What are the statistics on malaria? …1-3million people die each year, 70% children under 5.
  2. How do you get malaria? …By being bitten by a malaria-carrying mosquito.
  3. Why are children under 5 particularly susceptible? …They are yet to build up a resistance.
  4. Where does malaria occur in the world? …The Tropics, broadly speaking.
  5. Is malaria treatable? …Yes, but only if caught early.
  6. What strategies and actions are used to fight malaria? …Prevention and treatment.
  7. Can malaria be eradicated? …Yes, but not easily and not without money. It would take decades.
  8. What is the malaria infection cycle? …See below.
  9. What is the origin of the word ‘malaria’? …‘Mala aria’ means ‘bad air’ in Italian.
  10. Where do I find out more about malaria?These links may be helpful.
  1. What are the statistics on malaria?
  • At least a million people die from malaria each year. Some put the estimates as high as 2.7 million.
  • 90% of the deaths are in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • 70% of the deaths are of children under 5.That’s equivalent to one child dying of malaria in Africa every 30 seconds. Put another way, 7 jumbo jets full of children disappear because of malaria every day.
  • Malaria deaths are the hardest to count (WHO March 2006)
  1. How do you get malaria?

By being bitten by malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Not all mosquitoes carry malaria. Mosquitoes of the Anopheles genus do, particularly Anopheles gambiae. Malaria is spread by pregnant females that need blood to develop their eggs. The organism that causes malaria is the Plasmodium parasite. There are four types but one type, Plasmodium falciparum, accounts for almost all fatal cases.

  1. Why are children under 5 and pregnant women particularly susceptible to malaria?

Young children take time to build up resistance to malaria. If they get malaria when very young their bodies are often not strong enough to beat it and they may die. However, if a child survives and is bitten repeatedly by infected mosquitoes they gradually build up some resistance to the malaria parasite. The older, stronger child has a much better chance of fighting the disease and not dying.

  1. Where does malaria occur in the world?

Malaria occurs in many parts of the tropical world and in some parts of the subtropics. It is most common between the latitudes of 23.5 degrees north (Tropic of Cancer) and 23.5 degrees south (Tropic of Capricorn). Cases (often seasonal) also occur outside of these latitudes.

  1. Is malaria treatable?

Yes, but a malaria infected patient needs to be reached quickly. That’s part of the problem. The remote nature of many parts of Africa and other malaria affected regions, the difficulty of recognising that a patient has contracted malaria and not some other disease and the lack of available medicines all contribute to effective treatment not starting quickly enough. The result: many people die. Prevention, for example using bednets, and treatment go hand in hand in combating malaria.

  1. What strategies and actions are used to fight malaria?

No one action will beat malaria. We could distribute as many bed nets as we like, but on their own, they are not enough. Prevention and treatment are complimentary tactics used to fight malaria.

Prevention is achieved through:

  • the use of bednets, preferably treated with an insecticide
  • removing areas of water where mosquitoes breed
  • house spraying with insecticide
  • educating people as to the value of all of these actions to help prevent malaria and
  • monitoring mosquito populations to understand which insecticides they are sensitive to.

All these tactics dramatically reduce incidents of malaria.

Treatment includes: The use of drugs and ensuring the availability of those drugs in a timely fashion, something that is a constant challenge given the remoteness of many parts of Africa. Unfortunately the malaria parasite has become resistant to many drugs, such as chloroquine, which have been used to treat it successfully in the past. Substantial research is needed to find new drugs that can be used in the fight against malaria.

  1. Can malaria be eradicated?

Yes. But certainly not easily, and not for many years in Africa. What’s required is money. Even if not eradicated, malaria can certainly be reduced to dramatically lower levels than exist today. Malaria has already been successfully eradicated or brought under control in some countries.

The Netherlands: In the 1960’s malaria was a problem in the The Netherlands. Many people died of malaria between 1960-69. By the early 1970’s there were no malaria deaths. This was achieved through spraying of a chemical called DDT. Use of DDT to control malaria is controversial because the insecticide has harmful environmental effects. However, its use is still allowed for malaria control in special circumstances such as a recent epidemic in South Africa. It was possible to eradicate malaria in the Netherlands because the scale of the problem wasn’t so large that it required extraordinary amounts of money and the money that was required, whilst substantial, was available.

Vietnam: Here the number of malaria deaths in 1991 was 5,000. In 1999 it was 190. Whilst not eradicated in Vietnam, malaria is under control.

Malaria being brought ‘under control’ is an important point. In Africa the malaria problem is ‘out of control’ because it is so widespread and Africa as a continent is poor and does not have the resources to fight it successfully on its own. One of the elements required to help bring it under control, or ‘roll back malaria’, is money.

We don’t know whether it will ever be possible to eradicate malaria from areas where the infection is entrenched such as in tropical Africa. Some believe that advances in technology may allow this. For example, progress is being made on the development of vaccines to prevent malaria but this work is difficult and slow. Others believe that by genetically altering the anopheline mosquito it may be able to create a mosquito that can no longer transmit the infection. However, finding ways that would ensure that this modified mosquito took over from wild mosquitoes across Africa is a daunting task.

These difficulties will not stop researchers trying but with the information we have today we cannot assume such a solution will be found. We have to fight malaria in other ways.

  1. What is the malaria infection cycle?

Mosquitoes breed in water. Different species, including those that can transmit malaria, have different choices of breeding site. For example some anopheline mosquitoes prefer small puddles whilst others prefer flowing streams. They bite an infected person sucking up the malarial parasite and then, when they bite someone else, the parasite is transferred and, if the victim has acquired no immunity over the years, he or she will develop malaria. Most kinds of mosquitoes that can transmit malaria bite mainly between dusk and dawn.

  1. What is the origin of the word ‘malaria’?

From the Italian ‘mala aria’, meaning bad air. It was once thought that ‘bad air’ was the cause of the disease.

Malaria Info Sheet SSP

10.Where do I find out more about malaria?

The following links may help: Roll Back Malaria Partnership Global Fund UNICEF London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine: Malaria Centre Gates Malaria Partnership Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Malaria Consortium Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine UN Foundation PSI Malaria Foundation International Swiss Tropical Institute   Useful background information: Global Health Reporting Learn about malaria Global malaria initiatives List of organisations involved in fighting malaria Types of bed nets The successful fight against malaria in Vietnam The intolerable burden of Malaria (Part 2): What’s New What’s Needed Mapping Malaria Risk in Africa Malaria Atlas Project

 

Mother’s Day in South Africa

Mothers Day SSP 2017

 

In South Africa, Mothers Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in the month of May. People of South Africa celebrate Mother’s Day in its true spirit by acknowledging the importance of mothers in their lives and thanking them profusely for all their love and care. People also gift flowers and cards to their mother as an expression of their heartfelt feeling of gratitude and affection.

Mother's Day in South Africa

The most commonly used flowers on Mothers Day is the traditional carnation. People wear red or pink carnation for the mothers who are living while white carnation is used as a symbol of mothers who are dead. In South Africa, Mother’s Day is taken as an opportunity to thank not just mothers but also grand mothers and women who are like mothers.

Mothers are pampered by caring children on the day. Many children treat their mother with a delicious breakfast in bed but owing to the changing lifestyles, a large number of people take their mother out for dinners. Young children present their mothers with homemade gifts while the elder ones buy gifts for their mothers.

http://www.mothersdaycelebration.com/mothers-day-southafrica.html

 

 

Family Day 2017

 

 

Different FamiliesFamily Day is a public holiday celebrated in South Africa. Many countries worldwide such as Australia and Canada celebrates Family Day. It is also called the Family and Community Day and is celebrated every year in November on the first Tuesday. On this day, people take a break from the hard work and gather around with their families and enjoy quality time. Workers take the day off of work to get some rest and to be appreciated by their employers. Government agencies are closed on this day. Some private owned businesses stay open although it varies from place to place. Family Day is presently celebrated in South Africa, Alberta, Ontario, Australian Capital Territory, and Saskatchewan provinces in Canada.

It was typical in South Africa to take a day off of work after Easter. This day, which is also known as Easter Monday, was renamed as Family Day in 1995. This extra day off for the holiday was meant to give families more quality family time together and to allow them to go on vacations with friends and family.

Family Day is celebrated differently in each country and province. It is not a legal holiday in Ontario and they did not officially recognize this day until 1970. Family Day was then at that time declared a public holiday by the Saskatchewan Province. It has been reported that Alberta Territory was the first territory to recognize Family Day as a legal holiday. To minimize the cost of business, Canadian Herritage day has been made a civic holiday so that this does not allow all workers to take off work.

The government of South Africa emphasizes spending quality time with family on this day so that people can get together and have a celebration. Friends, relatives and family members will gather together, have meals, drink wine, and enjoy their time with those people that are most important to them. Many people go on vacation with their families and friends or may even invite their friends and neighbors to join in the family feast. Therefore, the day has great significance to all South African citizens as this is a public holiday. The importance of Family Day is uniting families together in the spirit of the holiday.

World Health Day 2017

 

World health Day

World Health Day, celebrated on 7 April every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization, provides us with a unique opportunity to mobilize action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world.

The theme of our 2017 World Health Day campaign is depression.

Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. It causes mental anguish and impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living. At worst, depression can lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year olds.

Yet, depression can be prevented and treated. A better understanding of what depression is, and how it can be prevented and treated, will help reduce the stigma associated with the condition, and lead to more people seeking help.

Source: World Health Organisation – World Health Day

http://www.gov.za/speeches/world-health-day-2017-16-nov-2016-1003

Healthy relationships lead to better Life

relationships-2017-ssp

 

Teddi Dineley Johnson

Unless you’re shipwrecked on a deserted island, you probably enjoy a handful of close relationships. From spouses to children to friends, parents, siblings and significant others, healthy relationships build self-esteem, improve mental and emotional health and help you live a fuller life.

“Relationships are — not surprisingly — enormously important for health, and there are lots of studies on the biological processes that account for the link between relationships and health,” says psychology professor Arthur Aron, PhD, director of the Interpersonal Relationships Laboratory at New York’s Stony Brook University.

The quality of our personal relationships also has an enormous impact on our physical health, as evidenced by a hefty number of research studies.

“We support each other in getting enough exercise, eating right, flossing — all the things that make for better health can be supported or undermined by close relationships,” Aron says.

In the movie “Cast Away,” Tom Hanks’ character — stranded on an uninhabited island — creates a face on a volleyball and talks to the ball, which he names “Wilson,” as if it were a person. Though fictional and funny, the gesture illustrates something very basic about us: Relationships are important — so important, in fact, that our brains are hardwired to form them.

“Evolution has set us up to be very good in relationships and to make them happen,” says Aron, who also teaches an undergraduate course on close relationships. “We have evolved to form relationships and to keep them together to raise children.”

That said, have you ever wondered why some of your relationships are more effective than others? Researchers have learned a lot in the last 30 years about what makes good relationships tick, and it boils down to just a few things. Unfortunately, most folks are only minimally aware of those elements, Aron says, and therefore aren’t doing everything they could be doing to improve their relationships.

 

Mind your mental health

Without question, the mental health of all parties is the most important element of a good relationship. If you suffer from depression, anxiety, insecurity or low self-esteem, seek help from a health professional right away, because it’s not just you, but also your relationship, that will suffer.

You can’t always control the stressors in your life, but for your relationships to be effective, try to keep stress to a minimum.

Also, be understanding when others are going through a tough time. Someone who loses her or his job, for example, might behave negatively for a little while. But things should get better eventually.

Keep the lines open

“We just don’t communicate!” is a common refrain in relationships — too common in fact, because after mental health, effective communication is the second most important ingredient in a healthy relationship.

Communication is important because conflicts are inevitable in relationships, and “most people are poorly prepared to deal with them well,” Aron says.

But there’s plenty of help out there. If you’re planning to wed, take advantage of the preparation courses offered through places of worship or community programs.

If you are already in a relationship, think about registering for a weekend seminar or marital enrichment course, often offered through churches, synagogues and community recreation departments.

And if you think the communication between you and your partner needs some extra help, consider couples counseling or marital therapy.

 

Build a bridge of support

Support from family and friends is an ingredient that repeatedly surfaces in good relationships. You might need someone to take the kids for the night, or help with carpooling. If you have a support system in place, or live near friends and family, don’t be afraid to ask them for a helping hand, a sympathetic ear or advice.

 “All relationships require effort and attention,” Aron says. “Sometimes that effort and attention is automatic, such as with an infant. Beyond what is automatic, for most relationships, we usually need to put attention and effort into them, and it pays off.”

 

Love Quiz: Do You Really Know Your Partner?

Worldwide leaders in research and couples therapy, Drs. John and Julie Gottman have found that one of the most important characteristics of successful relationships is the quality of the friendship between partners.

Do you really know your partner? Take our quiz below to find out. 

https://www.gottman.com/how-well-do-you-know-your-partner/