Community support for mental health care is needed

Every year, many South Africans face the reality of living with a mental illness and as October marks World Mental Health Awareness, New Eersterus Clinic joined the national movement to raise awareness about mental health on 15 October 2021.

The clinic hosted a mental health care workshop for the residents of New Eersterus and other stakeholders to better understand the “unseen illness”. The overall aim of the event was to raise awareness of mental health issues around the community, to mobilise efforts to support mental health, and help combat the stigma that is faced by those who suffer from mental illness.
The day also provided an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people in that area.

The community taking part in mental wellness

Sister Adelaide Mapa, the Facility Manager explained that when people arrive at their local clinic, a dedicated health professional would assess the patient, advice, and refer accordingly. “Our gates are always open. If there’s someone you suspect might be mentally ill, approach the clinic for help. We have a dedicated doctor for mental health and Occupational Therapists who assist us,” said Mapa.
“We should try by all means to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. And, with community support, we could be triumphant over this stigma,” said Admin Clerk, Tiny Khoza, who relayed her experiences of close interactions with people living with mental health problems. She also advocated for the community to support those in need of mental health care by helping to identify those persons and, in the same breath, encouraging treatment as well.

People in prayer during mental awareness campaign

Nurse Suzan Seabe said: “Together we can realize our shared vision of a nation where anyone affected by mental illness can get the support and quality of care to live healthy, fulfilling lives. No person with mental illness should ever feel alone. We have to make sure that everyone who suffers from mental illness has the chance to get treatment and live healthy, productive lives.”
Silo Kunene who is an Occupational Therapist at the clinic told Sosh Times they are committed to increasing awareness and providing quality care to those individuals living with mental health illnesses, including their family members. “We also offer support to families affected. We urge the community to utilise these services,” said Kunene.
An edutainment [drama] sketch was performed for the community and informative pamphlets were also given to those who attended. A resident, Kagiso Moabi said she learned a lot about mental health. “I wish there could be more of such events in our area. Because I now have a better understanding of mental health,” said Moabi.

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2 thoughts on “Community support for mental health care is needed

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