Jacaranda FM and Panda Create #SafeSpace for Men’s Mental Wellness

In this Men’s Health Month, Jacaranda FM has partnered with Panda, a technology platform that aims to give everyone access to resources that provide mental health support.

80% of South Africans who need mental health support cannot easily access it according to Cassey Chambers of the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG). The statistics are even more alarming when it comes to South African men. According to the World Health Organization, South Africa has the second highest suicide rate in the world, just a fraction behind Russia.

Jacaranda FM and Panda Create #SafeSpace for Men's Mental Wellness

Of the 13,774 suicides reported in South Africa in 2019, 10,861 were males, while 2,913 were females. These figures highlight the urgent need for South Africa’s response and resources to support everyone, but especially men.

“Jacaranda FM reaches approximately 1.5 million listeners each week, 50% of whom are male. We wanted to develop a campaign that could create an immediate impact for our male community and after careful consideration, we asked Panda to partner with us,” says Deirdre King, Managing Director of Jacaranda FM.

For men, showing emotion or seeking psychological or psychiatric help is considered “unmanly”. “Boys don’t cry” is a phrase taught from an early age, and those who do are often teased or bullied.

#SafeSpace aims to break the stigma around asking for help or support by empowering men with the tools offered in the Panda app.

As part of the Jacaranda FM and Panda partnership, users are invited to book up to three free 30-minute text chat sessions with mental health professionals using promo code #SafeSpace.

“We believe that Panda can overcome many barriers to seeking help for mental wellbeing, whether it’s stigma, the often high costs associated, or the journey of the user who simply doesn’t know. no where to start. Their technology and expertise, combined with our reach and engaging platforms, will put this app in as many hands as possible and potentially help save a life,” King adds.

Panda app users have free access to the “Bamboo Forest”, allowing them to engage with a community of other app users who may face similar challenges. The app is designed to eliminate any perceived shame, as users remain anonymous with audio-only or expert-led group chats.

Men can also create communities within the bamboo forest, based on their individual interests or support needs, whether it’s depression, financial stress, anxiety or even counseling for families whose loved ones face mental health issues.

Panda also offers scientifically validated assessment tools to allow users to objectively measure their mental well-being and a fun tracker allows them to document and track the progress they are making on their personal mental health journey.

A library of evidence-based content, based on key themes from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Positive Psychology, is available to app users who can then engage in support activities designed to help them improve their life skills.

“Panda was designed and developed as a viable way to respond to the growing large-scale mental health crisis, not only through the digital provision of support and information, but also by helping to de-stigmatize mental issues. We are delighted that a media partner like Jacaranda FM sees the potential of our app, but more importantly helps us in our goal of democratizing mental health care in South Africa,” says Allan Sweidan, clinical psychologist and co-founder of Panda. . .

Join The Drive with Rob & Roz every weekday from 4-7pm on Jacaranda FM as Rob Forbes and Rozanne McKenzie speak to various male celebrities throughout November about the challenges they faced and how whose priority to their mental health has helped them.

The Panda app is available on the Apple and Android app stores. Search “Join Panda” to download the app, click here to join for free, or visit www.JacarandaFM.com for more information.

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Jennifer R. Strohm