Makana cel­e­brates Men­tal Health Aware­ness Week

Grocott's Mail - - OPINION AND ADVICE - By KATHRYN CLEARY

Oc­to­ber is Men­tal Health Aware­ness Month, and Makana is gear­ing up for Men­tal Health Aware­ness Week next week, cul­mi­nat­ing in World Men­tal Health Day on 10 Oc­to­ber. Gro­cott’s Mail spoke to Mo­hamed Do­crat, Phar­macy Man­ager for Makana Health Sub-district and Iain Reid, Head of Psy­chol­ogy at Fort Eng­land Hos­pi­tal.

“Men­tal Health Aware­ness Week is im­por­tant,” said Do­crat. “Men­tal health at times is put on the ‘back burner’ due to com­pet­ing de­mands. This week gives us an op­por­tu­nity to bring it to the fore, high­light­ing the many chal­lenges our com­mu­ni­ties face in re­gards to men­tal health.”

“The aims of Men­tal Health Aware­ness Week are two fold; to raise aware­ness about men­tal health prob­lems and avail­able help and to as­sist in de-stig­ma­tis­ing men­tal health and re­duc­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion against peo­ple with men­tal health prob­lems,” said Reid.

The De­part­ment’s health pro­mo­tion team is cur­rently vis­it­ing lo­cal health care fa­cil­i­ties to speak about sub­stance abuse and its ef­fects on com­mu­ni­ties.

Do­crat stated that the fo­cus for this year was on sub­stance abuse. “Our health care prac­ti­tion­ers at the fa­cil­i­ties, to­gether with com­mu­nity struc­tures, have iden­ti­fied sub­stance abuse as a huge prob­lem,” he said.

An event to cel­e­brate World Men­tal Health Day would be held at 10am on 10 Oc­to­ber at Joza In­door Sports Cen­tre (venue and de­tails to be con­firmed at the time of pub­li­ca­tion).

“Ap­prox­i­mately 1 in 6 South Africans in­clud­ing chil­dren and ado­les­cents suf­fers from rel­a­tively com­mon men­tal prob­lems like de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety,” said Reid.

“If res­i­dents are go­ing through a dif­fi­cult time or know some­one go­ing through a dif­fi­cult time they are en­cour­aged to seek help. They should not ig­nore the dif­fi­cul­ties or try to strug­gle through them.”

Do­crat and Reid en­cour­age com­mu­nity mem­bers to seek help, and at­tend com­mu­nity events to bet­ter ed­u­cate them­selves about men­tal health.

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