World Mental Health Day Monday 10th 2016 -BONMEH

18 Oct 2016
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 Theme: Dignity in Mental Health - Psychological & Mental Health First Aid for All

Botswana, SADC & Africa as a whole has a lot of work to do in creating an environment that will enable people to know the importance of coming out without fear of stigmatization and be assisted when they are mentally challenged or indirectly affected. Public education is key to make people understand the importance of recognizing mental illnesses as illness not witchcraft or curse so that when we talk of psychological first aid then it can be impactful to an ear of all Africans inclusive of those in the deep rural end. We need to foster a culture where each and every individual understands, respects, tolerate and support this cause.

 Psychological & Mental health first aid is very imperative in the days that we are living in, triggers of disorders are so many hence a need for the first aid application when such arise. The whole idea is to have this kind of psychological first aid known and understood by everyone as much as most of people are more aware of types of first aid to apply on physical emergency conditions. This theme comes very relevant because it is evident that almost 90% of the population are not in a position to handle a distressed individual, all they can do is term the person insane rather than to apply the psychological first aid. I believe the introduction of this type of first aid will also be a tool that can be used to reduce the numbers of institutionalization.

I do not have the pride to commemorate but I am grateful we have come this far. I am hopeful that 5 years from now when we evaluate the impact of our efforts, we shall be proud but as for now the struggle continues,the campaign of re-defining mental health to the people is key .

Today is 10th  October ,the lime day, the day where heroes and heroines gather to commemorate their bravery towards settling for dealing with the sacred place of human being ''the mind''It is a zone that only those with a heart can stand, it’s not for the faint heartedBelieve me you ''Mental health'' defines you & me !Oh please never make a mistake to say ''it belongs, affects'' certain individuals rather NOTE that mental illnesses knows no boundaries of ''age, gender, sexuality, race, status'' rather it knocks everywhere. The least you can do is to be informed & BE AN AGENT OF ANTI – STIGMA TOWARDS VICTIMS OR THE WORD ITSELF “MENTAL””!

People are tattered and come to blows with emotions, people are in intensive care units yet we don’t see because it is more emotional to touch, see and feel if you are not experiencing it ,and one has the nerve to say "it’s all in your head you will get over it'' . Kids are beaten for being intellectually disabled yet some kids cannot be beaten for catching flue ,the question is who is it who drew a line between physical illnesses and mental illnesses, I wonder if one can just say'' its just cancer it’s all in your bone marrow you willl get over it''!!!Trust me the person will be deemed ''insensitive,rude '' but why do we find it okay to stigmatize people with mental illnesses rather than showing sympathy just like any other illness?

Professor Gabriel Ivbijaro (the President of World Federation for Mental Health) on his brief theme breakdown he wrote that‘’ Every 40 seconds somebody somewhere in the world dies by suicide, and the young are disproportionately affected. Providing more people with basic psychological and mental health first aid skills will help to decrease the rate of suicide. Psychological and mental distress can happen anywhere - in our homes, in our schools, in the workplace, on the transport system, in the supermarket, in public spaces, in the military and in hospital. Psychological and mental health first aid is a potentially life-saving skill that we all need to have’’

I salute and pray for everyone doing their bit towards creating a better atmosphere when it comes to mental health. That’s very admirable of you; let’s keep moving forward there is a lot to undertake!Indeed ''thereis no health without mental health''.

By Charity Kiki Kennedy

Founding Chairperson

 Botswana Network for Mental Health