Important notice: For up to date information about the pandemic visit www.sacoronavirus.co.za

Mental Health and Covid-19


Are you open during lockdown?

COPE provides therapeutic services from within the Akeso mental health facilities. The Akeso mental health facilities remain open to provide care for mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.


What measures are in place to protect me?

We have taken the necessary measures to ensure that we comply with the appropriate infection control measures across all our facilities. This is done to protect not only our clients, but also the staff, doctors, practitioners, service providers, and visitors.

The following protocols apply to everyone who enters an Akeso facility:

  • You must wear a protective face mask which securely covers your nose and mouth (and which doesn’t require continuous adjustment).
  • Regularly wash hands with soap and water or use the no-touch sanitisation stations provided throughout the facility.
  • You will be required to complete a screening access questionnaire, as well as have your temperature taken, prior to entering the Akeso facility. This is done as part of the effort to identify any risk of possible exposure or infection.

In addition to the above, which is applicable to everyone entering the facility, we have taken extra precautions to minimise interaction between in-hospital patients and clients making use of out-patient services.

We may ask clients to remain in the vehicles or outside while waiting for an outpatient consultation to ensure minimal people in any waiting areas. The facilities are all wiped down and cleaned frequently – this includes any seating, tables, common spaces, and bathrooms. All seating within the facility is spaced at 1.5 metres apart.


Will these measures change?

Any additional protocols required by the Akeso group, Netcare group, or government directives, are applied as new information becomes available. As such, it is necessary to take note and adhere to instructions on entrance to the facility, from security or staff, and from any information or direction posters located within the Akeso facility.


Are visitors allowed?

During this time, visitors are not allowed in the facilities.


Can I experience trauma as a result of COVID-19?

It is possible to experience COVID-19 as trauma - you or a loved one can become ill, go through isolation, experience significant relationship strain, foreclosure of businesses with resultant financial struggles. The possibility or reality of retrenchment, salary cuts, and changing work and home environments can be quite difficult to manage, leaving you with immense emotional and psychological stress.


What emotions could people be feeling during a pandemic?

You may be going through anxiety, stress, loneliness, depression or compulsion to increase your alcohol use. Given our current uncertain times, emotions of fear, anger, grief, exasperation and sadness are quite normal. However, should you feel that these emotions are overwhelming and you are struggling to cope, we can help.


Can COVID-19 cause depression?

The circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions could contribute to feelings of depression and hopelessness. You may be feeling lost without being able to see your friends and loved ones, and isolated without the usual physical connection. Feeling loss and sadness about what ‘used to be’, and uncertainty about what is coming, can be contributing factors to a mental health issue such as depression if left unmanaged. We can help you to manage these feelings and build personal resilience.


Is it normal to feel very anxious during COVID-19 pandemic?

There are many things happening during the COVID-19 pandemic which could contribute to increased anxiety. Not only is there uncertainty about what is going to happen, but there is anxiety about the personal impact it may have. Concerns about work and possible job losses, changes in working circumstances, financial strain, anxiety about contracting the virus or your loved ones getting ill, as well as changes in routine due to restrictions could all contribute to symptoms of anxiety and stress. Uncertainty generally brings stress emotions, but if these are impacting your functioning it is a good idea to seek help.