The Inkatha Freedom Party is calling on all South Africans to raise awareness about mental health and erase the stigma associated with this ailment in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month.
“Mental Health Awareness Month is a time for all people to assess their understanding of how mental illness affects the lives of so many. I urge everyone to become educated and raise awareness about mental health so that the culture can begin to change on how society views those struggling with these illnesses. Having a mental illness is not a moral failure; it’s an ailment.
The Mental Health Care Act. Act 17 of 2002 states that mental health services should be provided as part of primary, secondary and tertiary health services and health establishments.
Educating ourselves about the facts related to mental illness is the key ingredient for the eradication of the damaging stigma that prevents so many from seeking the help they need. The stigma must be eliminated in order for South Africans to increase the number of people we are able to treat for their mental health disorder,” said IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Health, Mrs Ncamisile Nkwanyana MPL.
“In every town you see mentally ill people sleeping on the streets and eating from dustbins and wonder what government is doing to help them. Government must take all people with mental illness and care for them at medical centres responsible for mental health treatment. Our concern is also extended to traditional healers as there is a superstition that people consult them if they want to curse people by making them mentally unstable.
We believe that legitimate and professional traditional healers don’t practice witchcraft and don’t curse people but they provide solutions those in need. They must also play an important role in eradicating the scourge of people with mental health problems,” continued Mrs Nkwanyana.
“We must also resolve to enhance our understanding of mental illness and its relationship to other complex societal challenges, including homelessness, substance abuse and suicide. We must reaffirm our commitment to improving prevention, diagnosis and treatment through innovative medical strategies.
No persons should suffer in silence. We must support those in need. I call upon all people to support citizens suffering from mental illness, raise awareness of mental health conditions through appropriate programs,” concluded Mrs Nkwanyana.
Mrs Ncamisile Nkwnyana MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Health
078 302 3991