BEIJING, June 3 (Xinhuanet) -- Oscar Pistorius has begun the second week of his 30-day psychiatric evaluation, to see if he is suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Four experts are assessing the athlete to see if he can continue to stand trial, after he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year.
Arriving for a second week of psychiatric testing. Oscar Pistorius continued his 30 day evaluation at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital, ordered after a Psychiatrist suggested the athlete suffers from Generalized anxiety disorder. But that has not been without consequence.
The South Africa depression and anxiety group say they’ve received an increase in calls from people concerned about GAD with some worried that those diagnosed with the condition would turn violent.
"We have received many calls into the call centre from patients, loved ones, colleagues, who is now, what is GAD? Or do I have GAD? Do I have to go for an assessment? Does my husband who has GAD and has a gun in the house, should we hide it. Is he violent, unpredictable, should I be concerned. We also had some calls from patients who are very nervous now to tell other people that they had GAD. And having that kind of association." Casey Chambers with South Africa Depression & Anxiety Group said.
Just like much of the rest of the world, mental illness is a serious issue in South Africa…. but it is one that is often swept under the carpet. And that’s surprising given the truly sobering statistics.
"In South Africa there are 23 completed suicides every single day in the country. And a further 233 attempted suicides, so there are a lot of people feeling very overwhelmed and very desperate. With regards to mental illness, one in three have a mental illness. So there is a lot of people that are living with a disorder who maybe don’t know they have this illness and haven’t seek treatment." Chambers said.
If there is one positive to take out of the Oscar Pistorius trial, it is perhaps that if nothing else it has provided further focus on mental health issues in South Africa. And that no matter how desperate the situation, help is at hand.
"I think the fact that we have people talking about it, papers, TV, covering the stories, we are getting the message out there. People are learning more about what anxiety is and generalized anxiety disorder. If we are able to help one person through this then it is definitely a positive for us." Chambers said.
As for Pistorius, he will return to the North Gauteng High Court on the 30th of June whereby the results of his evaluation will become known.