World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. This year the theme is “Young people and mental health in a changing world.”
“Adolescence and the early years of adulthood are a time of life when many changes occur, for example changing schools, leaving home, and starting university or a new job. For many, these are exciting times. They can also be times of stress and apprehension however. In some cases, if not recognized and managed, these feelings can lead to mental illness. The expanding use of online technologies, while undoubtedly bringing many benefits, can also bring additional pressures, as connectivity to virtual networks at any time of the day and night grows. Many adolescents are also living in areas affected by humanitarian emergencies such as conflicts, natural disasters and epidemics. Young people living in situations such as these are particularly vulnerable to mental distress and illness.”
“In terms of the burden of the disease among adolescents, depression is the third leading cause. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds”. In South Africa, 1 in 4 teens have attempted suicide, with the youngest reported suicide being committed as early as six years old.
“Much can be done to help build mental resilience from an early age to help prevent mental distress and illness among adolescents and young adults, and to manage and recover from mental illness. Prevention begins with being aware of and understanding the early warning signs and symptoms of mental illness. Parents and teachers can help build life skills of children and adolescents to help them cope with everyday challenges at home and at school. Psychosocial support can be provided in schools and other community settings and of course training for health workers to enable them to detect and manage mental health disorders can be put in place, improved or expanded.
Investment by governments and the involvement of the social, health and education sectors in comprehensive, integrated, evidence-based programmes for the mental health of young people is essential. This investment should be linked to programmes to raise awareness among adolescents and young adults of ways to look after their mental health and to help peers, parents and teachers know how to support their friends, children and students. This is the focus for this year’s World Mental Health Day.”
In preparation for Mental Health Day, Psyssa Student Division Vice-chairperson, Muhammed Yaeesh Cassim, and Executive Committee Additional Member, Andrea Jacobs, facilitated a talk on Mental Health and the Law, at the Law faculty of the University of Witswaterand yesterday.
In partnership with SADAG, PsySSA partook in the Durban Mental Health Advocacy Walk on 7 October at Durban Beach Front. Free mental health screenings, information desks and interactions with mental health professionals and organisations was provided.
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG)
Join SADAG experts for the FREE Q&A on 12 October 2018 discussing youth and Mental Health. Learn more about how to identify warning signs in yourself or a friend. Struggling to cope with stress and deadlines at school, university or college? Wondering how you can manage your Mental Health on Campus. Join the chat 1pm – 2pm, and again at 7pm – 8pm. #WhatIf