Hundreds of Activists Join the KZN Mental Health Walk 2023

Despite wet and windy weather conditions, 850 people turned up to support the KZN Mental Health Advocacy Walk last Sunday, ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10.

Many familiar PsySSA faces also belonged to the main organizing committee of the KwaZulu-Natal Mental Health Advocacy Group, under whose auspices the walk is hosted. They include Suntosh Pillay, co-founder of the Advocacy Group and executive member of the PsySSA Community and Social Psychology Division; Lynne Richards, who managed the walk’s logistics with the eThekwini Municipality, and is the chairperson of the PsySSA Trauma and Violence Division; and Rivendri Govender, who ensured that over 30 organisations attended the related Wellness Fair, and is the Secretary of the Society for Educational Psychology of South Africa (SEPSA) with Professor Suvira Ramlall, a psychiatrist who co-founded of the event with Pillay, this small team pulled of another well-attended walk for the eight year running.

Pillay says that the 5km walk “continues to grow every year as the flagship community-driven mental health event in the province, if not the country. We are probably the biggest, free, mental health walk in South Africa right now.” People came from all corners of KZN, including Chatsworth, the South Coast, Madadeni and Pietermaritzburg, and brought placards and posters to voice their slogans. The SABC, Isolezwe, and local newspapers all supported the walk with media coverage. Govender said a walk is a fun and interactive way to get people to engage with the topic of mental health “which people shy away from”. “We are encouraging people to take a stand against the stigma.” Richards agrees. “Annually, the walks brings together individuals from diverse backgrounds to advocate together. It is a wonderful day filled with activities, such as yoga and aerobics.”

The theme for #WMHD 2023 is “Mental health is a universal human right”. Pillay said this topic is especially pertinent given the current debates about National Health Insurance (NHI) in South Africa and the best way to achieve universal health coverage. “NHI is one option; but whatever funding mechanism we use to gain equity of access to healthcare, psychosocial services must be included from the outset. There is no debate that psychology professionals are an essential service,” said Pillay.

The related wellness fair at the North Beach amphitheater had 30 organisations to interact with the public, including the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), Refugee Social Services, the Durban Book Fair, the Mum’s Support Network, Mondia Health, Medis Medical Software, the KZN Department of Health, Akeso, and Joint Medical Holdings.

Pierre Buckley, from the Global Interfaith Network (GIN), joined as an LGBTQ+ activist. “GIN understands the importance of wellbeing in its entirely,” said Buckley. “Being present and supporting the walk adds our voice and presence to support the urgency to address mental wellness in society. This was a meaningful event.”

To support the event, contact

Photo credits: Vijay Ramballie.

PsySSA Commemorates World Mental Health Awareness Day 2023 – Privileging Mental Health: A Call to Action

Dear Esteemed Members of the Psychological Society of South Africa,

With October being declared as Mental Health Month, we are reminded of the abiding imperative to raise awareness of mental health issues and reduce the many forms of discrimination and stigma that continue to plague those experiencing mental health challenges.

As members of PsySSA, we have the opportunity to create a meaningful impact towards the mental well-being of individuals and communities in our country. As advocates for mental health and wellness, we have the privilege and responsibility to harness the resources of our profession to advocate for the kinds of multi-level interventions and changes necessary to foster mental health and well-being.

This October, the Psychological Society of South Africa is proud to present a high-impact social media campaign that centres around the theme of Fostering Mental Health: Uniting the Psychology Community in Action. Our focus will be on highlighting the vital role that psychologists and counsellors play – and are called to play – in supporting vulnerable individuals and communities across our nation.

The Power of Unity: Uniting for Positive Change

Mental health is an integral part of overall well-being, and our profession has the unique capacity to facilitate healing and growth. With the ongoing challenges posed by the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic insecurity, and various social issues, the need for mental health support has never been more evident. This October, we aim to illuminate the collective strength of our community and the transformative impact that can be achieved when we work together.

Focusing on Vulnerable Communities

At the heart of our campaign is a deep commitment to serving vulnerable communities. As psychologists and counsellors we are positioned to address the mental health disparities that exist within South Africa. Our campaign will highlight success stories and contextually sensitive practices in providing effective mental health interventions to individuals and groups who are most in need.

A Month of Action: What to Expect

Throughout the month of October, we will be sharing inspiring stories, insightful resources, and thought-provoking discussions on our social media platforms. Here’s a sneak peek of what you can look forward to:

Webinars and Workshops: Engage in enriching webinars and workshops where experts from our community will delve into relevant topics, providing you with new tools and strategies to enhance your practice.

Individual Stories: Learn about the profound impact psychologists and counsellors have had on the lives of their clients. These narratives will emphasise the importance of empathetic care and context-based interventions.

Community Outreach: Discover innovative ways our colleagues are reaching out to underserved communities, spreading awareness about mental health, and delivering support where it is needed most.

Resources and Toolkits: Access a wealth of resources to assist you in your efforts to support clients and communities.

Join Us in Making a Difference

As members of the Psychological Society of South Africa, your expertise, compassion and dedication have the power to change lives. We invite you to actively participate in our October campaign by sharing your own experiences, insights, and stories on social media using the hashtag #PrivilegingMentalHealthSA. By joining forces, we can amplify our collective impact and create a more mentally healthy South Africa.


We are excited to embark on this journey with you, and we look forward to a month filled with meaningful connections, enlightening discussions, and a renewed sense of purpose. Let us stand united in our mission to promote mental health and well-being and make a lasting difference in the lives of those we serve.


Psychological Society of South Africa

PsySSA Celebrates Heritage Day 2023 – “Every individual is the product of multiple overlapping identities” – Fabiano Franco

PsySSA Celebrates Heritage Day 2023 – “Every individual is the product of multiple overlapping identities” – Fabiano Franco

Heritage Day is intended to acknowledge and honour the cultural richness and diversity within South Africa. It is an opportunity to pay tribute to the heritage of the many different cultures that exist within our country.

For individuals, it is an opportunity to honour the various threads woven into the tapestry of one’s identity. Ethnicity, ancestry, religion, social traditions, family customs, language, and the geographic location where a person has spent most of one’s life, have all contributed to the shaping of a  personal set of cultural practices and ideologies. It is fascinating to observe which thread of the tapestry a person picks out for Heritage Day ‘dress up’ events.

Conversely, many intentionally and deliberately choose to relegate their heritage to their mental archives. September 24 is then merely Braai Day.

As professionals within the field of psychology, cultural competence (while not stereotyping and generalising) is a fundamental skill. Heritage Day creates a space to purposefully reflect on your cultural awareness, as well as your knowledge and the h of understanding of the culture of the populations that you work with.

PsySSA asked some of our members what Heritage Day meant to them as professionals in the field of Psychology in South Africa.

“Heritage Day means a day of celebrating what has been preserved and passed down to us from previous generations – the sacred knowledge of diverse existences. In the field of Psychology, our heritage is rooted in cultural diversity, social cohesion and compassion across the community. As a professional, I am reminded to look to our heritage brought down from the past to take new learnings and give this value in our present, and to preserve the values of our heritage for the future. We celebrate Heritage Day to value the kaleidoscope of people, places, cultures and ideologies, and we celebrate this connection of humanity spanning across our multiple existences. It is a day to celebrate as I have the opportunity to be a Psychological professional in a country blessed with such rich cultural diversity, embracing its growth with the spirit of ubuntu, towards inclusivity, acceptance and increased advocacy towards better mental health practices for all of South Africa and her people.”

(Genevieve Burrow, Division for Registered Counsellors and Psychometrists)


“From a research psychology/psychometry perspective, it’s an opportunity to reflect on how theories and assessments were previously used to discriminate against certain groups, and see how far we as a profession have come in developing and validating solutions that are fair and non-biased towards our population is something we should be immensely proud of. We should appreciate the work of our colleagues who have worked hard in establishing African-centred, Ubuntu-focused counseling interventions, and continue supporting those who strive to make psychological practice a service that benefits all South Africans.”

(Pakeezah Rajab, Division for Research and Methodology)

Invitation – Research Study: How is your mental health during load shedding?

We are a group of researchers from Wits conducting a study about the impact of load shedding on the mental health of the general population. The study involves completing a brief anonymous questionnaire about your experiences of loadshedding. This should take approximately 15 to 30 minutes to complete. Completion of this online survey is taken to mean that you give consent to participate. When we share the results of the study, we will not include your name or anything else that could identify you. The information collected will be used to promote better access to mental health services and develop appropriate psychological interventions as well as for academic purposes. If you have any further questions, please feel free to e-mail Prof Maria Marchetti-Mercer on

Seed Grant 2023

Seed Grant 2023

The CaSP Division is extending an invitation to its members to participate in the Seed Grant competition, aimed at funding one community engagement project that is innovative, practical, and sustainable, with a budget of R5000.

Are you interested in promoting mental health and psychosocial well-being?

If so, we encourage you to submit a proposal for a community project that is designed to improve mental health among a specific group within the community. We are seeking projects that embody the fundamental values and principles of Community Psychology rather than simple outreach programs. Our aim is to find a project that genuinely puts Community Psychology into practice.

The PsySSA Social Responsibility Project: Roseneath Primary School

The PsySSA Social Responsibility Project: Roseneath Primary School

Aligned to PsySSA’s Social Responsibility and mission, kindly note that we have untaken to support a home for Gender-based Violence victims and Youth in underprivileged communities. We invite all members to support these initiatives by donating to us when completing your membership application. Through your donation, we will be able to promote a better and safer society for us all.

Members are also invited to donate to these initiatives throughout the year by simply logging into their profile.