Hundreds walk to celebrate recovery from addiction

Only about 1 in 20 South Africans with drug or alcohol problems access treatment

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The annual Recovery Walk in Mitchells Plain attracts hundreds of people from across Cape Town.

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Mitchells Plain on Saturday, celebrating recovery from addiction and mental illness.

Participants carried placards, among them: “Hoot for recovery”, “Recovery makes us stronger” and “Mental Health Matters”.

The five-kilometre walk through Mitchells Plain is intended to “take recovery to the streets” and celebrate that recovery from mental health and addiction is possible.

The annual Recovery Walk first took place in 2015 and since 2022 it has been hosted by Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital. The walk is a five kilometre loop through Mitchells Plain.

“Thank you for bringing life into a space that would have otherwise been dead this morning,” Warren Caeser, CEO of Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital, told the crowd on Saturday.

“We exist to support your recovery, our recovery. No person in recovery should walk alone,” said Caeser.

It is estimated that over 13% of South Africans meet the diagnostic criteria of Substance Use Disorder, yet only 5% of people with substance use disorder access treatment.

The Recovery Walk in Cape Town is organised by a committee of people who are in recovery or who have loved ones who are in recovery. They volunteer their time throughout the year to ensure the event runs smoothly.

Juliet Yates has been on the Recovery Walk’s organising committee for two years. She says it is her way of giving back to the recovery community.

“It’s my way of giving back to the recovery community,” says Juliet Yates, who has been on the committee for two years. “This … plays a huge role in my own recovery.”

The event is supported by rehabilitation centres Liberty Home and The Cedars, and attracts a range of organisations who come to show their support. The Spring Foundation at Lentegeur Hospital is a key partner.

Nabuweeyah Moses and Natalie Thwaites attended the walk to support their loved ones who are in recovery.

Nabuweeyah Moses attended the walk with her friend Natalie Thwaites. Moses has several family members who struggle with mental health problems or addiction to drugs.

“I’m here to help create awareness that recovery is possible. To show support,” said Moses.

Correction on 2023-10-02 13:27

The original subtitle said fewer than half of South Africans with drug or alcohol problems access treatment. While strictly speaking true, the number of people with substance use issues accessing treatment is closer to 1 in 20.

TOPICS:  Harm reduction Health Society

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