Langa taught about mental illness

2019-09-19 06:00
A workshop on mental illness was held in Langa. PHOTO: SIYABONGA KALIPA

A workshop on mental illness was held in Langa. PHOTO: SIYABONGA KALIPA

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A group of University of Cape Town students did mental health training and awareness in Langa on Tuesday 17 September.

The initiative was part of the fourth-year medical student’s health promotion project which forms part of their public health course.

The students collaborated with loveLife where they trained loveLife volunteers and life orientation teachers on issues such as depression, anxiety and substance abuse. The training came a few days after the commemoration of World Suicide Prevention Day, on 10 September.

One of the students, Chayeza Makhubele, said they are raising awareness about the stigma attached to mental illness in the townships. They trained the volunteers on ways to identify children suffering from mental illness and means to deal with affected people. “We realised that people do not talk about mental health as opposed to illnesses such as HIV and Aids because of the stigma,” she said. She said mental health can drive patients to substance abuse and suicide.

The provincial programmes operations manager of loveLife, Themba Maseti, described the training as very important to them since they work with young people. “It is critical for us to have proper information to equip our foot soldiers who work with schools,” he said.

He added that they want young people to be assisted with issues they do not want to talk about.

Langa resident Noni Solomon said the training will help them to identify the conditions from a very early age and provide help before things get worse.

“This (training) was very important because we normally pick it up very late when someone has a mental illness,” she said.

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