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.