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Advertorial: Enjoy an injury-free festive season

A long and healthy life for all South Africans!

Many studies are showing that a greater portion of crashes on South African roads are caused by human factors such as:

Distracted Drivers: Talking on the cell phone, sending a text message, eating, arguments/loud chatting or loud music

Speeding: Ignoring the speed limit – the faster you drive, the slower your reaction will be to stop in time to prevent an accident

Drunk Driving: Drinking makes you lose focus and not function properly – which is very dangerous when operating a vehicle

Rain: Makes it difficult for drivers to see other cars and roads become slippery, which causes vehicles to spin out of control while braking. All drivers know that driving in rainy conditions is dangerous and that extra careful driving care is required

Running Red Lights: Red means stop – but drivers speed up when they approach a yellow light with the excuse of “being in a hurry”.

Road crashes not only impact the lives of family and friends of those involved, they also affect the cost of proper, adequate healthcare provision.

We cannot control the condition of the roads we use, and it is rare to correctly anticipate the driving of other motorists, so it is up to each one of us as drivers to make an individual effort collectively to drive safely, to have a greater impact on our healthcare system and infrastructure.

It’s not only the victim who suffers as a result of a serious injury or death on our roads. While negative emotions obviously affect the person involved in the collision, the families of these victims often present more pronounced psychological suffering than the victims themselves.

It is frequently the case that someone who feels out of control or unable to help a loved one, suffers similar traumatic symptoms to those who actually go through the experience.

Trauma and Violence

Trauma and violence are widespread, harmful, and create costly public health concerns. They have no boundaries with regard to age, gender, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Trauma is a common experience for adults and children in South Africa, particularly urban areas and communities, and it is especially common in the lives of people with substance use disorders. For this reason, the need to address trauma is increasingly seen as an important part of effective behavioural healthcare.

Trauma and Mental Health

Mental health implications such as depression, anger, suicidal feelings, anxiety attacks and loss of drive are more common in the relatives of victims left with disabilities than the victims themselves.

Traumatic experiences are associated with both behavioural health and chronic physical health conditions, especially those traumatic events that occur during childhood.

Substance use (such as smoking, excessive alcohol use and taking drugs), mental health problems (such as depression, anxiety or PTSD), and other risky behaviours (such as self-injury and risky sexual encounters) have been linked with traumatic experiences. Because these behavioural health concerns can present challenges in relationships, careers and other aspects of life, it is important to understand the nature and impact of trauma, and to explore healing.

Risky Behaviours During the Festive Period

Certain risky behaviours tend to increase during the festive period. During this time, there are more incidents of:

  • Domestic violence
  • Rape and physical abuse of women and young girls
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Unprotected sex
  • Pedestrian deaths due to drinking and walking in the streets
  • Car crashes
Quadruple Burden of Disease

Violence and Trauma together are a public health priority and part of the country’s quadruple burden of disease.

It rests upon all of us to reduce the pervasive, harmful and costly impact of violence and trauma to our society and its resources.