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Mental Health Awareness in 2022!

By Lusanda Nonkasa Odus,

“Mental health encompasses emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It influences cognition, perception, and behaviour. It also determines how an individual handles stress, interpersonal relationships, and decision-making”. Wikipedia

“Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.1 Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood” 988 suicide % crisis lifeline.

This is very close to my heart and especially when it involves a Girl Child. These are my personal and I will try my level best to help you and myself in understanding this mental journey that affects our being and reason to live.

What are some of the causes?

  1. Emotional

Abuse, trauma and neglect

Childhood trauma, children who have been abused emotionally and physically and maltreated whether by family, outsiders, they find it very difficult to deal with the pain and that can lead them to mental breakdown. And the painful part of it all is not being believed nor trusted by the close relatives, educators and community.

And the reason for these disbeliefs is because in most cases, the perpetrator are the people who are well known or respected (Pastors, Uncle, and Leader in the society) or very close relative who assists financially.

This becomes an issue in reporting these incidents happening to the child and that can lead to major mental breakdown, a dying soul with no help. And these are commonly occurred to the girl child.

Children are being emotionally neglected by their parents and this means that parents are failing to respond to their children’s emotional obligation. Charity begins from home, but how? When parents are too busy to avail themselves to have conversation with their children. And this is part of the reasons why it easier for strangers to step in and offer help with wrong intentions towards the child.

I would like parents to really look at the above part of the causes, because it is a source of many struggles the children face, and they are seeking for someone who can listen to them or numb the pain they are going through. And they end up falling into wrong initiations.

  1. Interpersonal relationships

For every child this is very important relationship as it can serve as a function to a child’s development, this can either be with friends, family, or schoolmate. Children are to fight loneliness, the urge to end their lives and gives them sense of purpose. And this can be achieved when having close friends or relatives who support.

But in our society, it is not the case, the children are struggling to build lasting relationships with their mates and at home also it is another obstacle they have to face daily. There is no support system that assist them in these struggles, and we end up having a child that is depressed.

  1. Social wellbeing

–           Are Basic human needs met?

–           Are children raised in peaceful communities?

–           Are the equal opportunities in our society where the children can benefit?

–           Are there any sustainable developments and structures that the children can benefit from?

  1. Social Media Peer Pressure

–           Almost every teen has access to a cellphone and social media is a present tool in their lives. Social media can be of benefit in helping teens with communication skills, make friends and share their thoughts and ideas.

–           As we all know not all that glitters is Gold, and so is the case with social medial can have negative impact on children. The platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Snapchats and Facebook have negative impact on what is expected of them, and this can lead to anxiety, depression because they want to meet up with the standard of these platforms.

–           Peer Pressure – Looking for acceptance, wanting to be cool, wanting to blend in with the right crowd.

–           These are the negatives that peer pressure can lead to:

–           Bullying, engage in sexting, involvement in alcohol and drugs.

The point is combining the two social media and peer pressure can be very harmful to mental stability.

5 things you can do for yourself?

  1. Talk to someone (professional councillor or a parent or a trusted friend)
  2. Have a journal (Write your thoughts, how you feel and don’t worry about spelling or wrong wording, just pour out your heart to yourself)
  3. Bad influence (Keep your distance from people who they want you to always prove yourself, draw boundaries of your friendship)
  4. Report (if any person is forcing you to do what you not comfortable with, whether at home, school, community etc. report to the person you can trust)
  5. Spiritual connection (what is it that you believe in? maybe it’s time you connect with it for guidance and strength to overcome).

5 things you should know about yourself:

–           You are strong

–           You are unbreakable

–           You love yourself more

–           Have more faith on yourself

–           And last but not least, just do you.

Below are the views of other youngsters:

Kefiloe Khokhone Orlando West in Soweto: “Most of us young people suffer from anxiety and depression which leads to suicidal thoughts and in the absence be it at school or with family and friends. The impact that social media has on the youth, for example there is a lot of bullying going on around school or on social media which contributes to depression, trauma, anxiety and self-confidence which can mostly lead to suicide or self-harm. Especially from some of us coming from black communities or backgrounds, our mental health is not taken into consideration because it’s assumed what we go through mental breakdowns because of relationships, people we associate with etc. Yet there is an underlying issue but it’s hard for us to voice out due to the stigma we have growing up in black communities”.

Anathi Odus known as “Frazey Therapist” Skycity, Alberton – Boston Student – Music and Production: 

Mental health determines how one person can think or be influenced by things around them. The youth make most of their decisions based on peer pressure and rely on emotions more than parental guidance and reason being, is that they spend most of their time with friends more than family. There is still respect amongst households and nothing changes but the way they do things differently from others also has an emotional side which is a big impact in how people take most of their decisions. So, it is hard to know that someone is always thinking about personal things that affect everyone differently.