10 October 2019
The 10th of October every year marks the World Mental Health Day, a day to raise awareness and show support for better mental health. This year’s theme is on suicide prevention.
Suicides have claimed many lives worldwide and the Kingdom of Eswatini is no exception. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), every 40 seconds someone dies through suicide - about 800 000 lives lost each year. They do not only have devastating effects on close family members and close friends of one who commits suicide but also leave socio-economic impacts to communities, countries and the world.
We need new ways of thinking to deal with causes, deaths and effects of suicides by mobilising resources and financing for mental health. Currently non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including mental illness attract less interest over transmittable and infectious diseases.
Of these mental health disorders, including mood, anxiety, personality, substance abuse, trauma-related disorders and schizophrenia, our way of thinking, feeling and or action is affected. And a person could, for a number of reasons, feel less of a human as they reciprocate social judgments. That is why mental illness should be taken as a disease and treated as such.
As we raise advocacy through the designated World Mental Health Day, we must remember not to make our efforts count for a day’s event but an everyday living. Therefore, we call for a comprehensive multidisciplinary strategy and action plan that focuses on stigma elimination, prevention, proper treatment and care as well as the promotion of mental health. Government must spearhead the creation and strengthening mental health policies and laws. Other stakeholders, including the private and civil society sectors must create awareness and education programmes for the workplace and at home. Most importantly, a person affected or those close to them need to take the first step. Seek help.
The Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organisations (CANGO) whose objectives are: coordinating, advocacy, capacity-building and grants management of NGOs also has a role to play. Working with and through NCD NGOs implementing various programmes on the ground, we can link these organisations and people. If help is needed, our hands are open to anyone. One suicide is one too many.
People can reach us at:
Physical and postal Addresses:
Plot No 419 JSM Matsebula Street
P.O Box A67 Swazi Plaza, Mbabane
Tel: (+268) 2404 4721/9283