Girl child advocacy group Shamwari YemwanaSikana (SYS) has called for collective efforts from civic society organisations and government departments in the fight against mental health issues.
The call comes in the wake of an unfortunate death of 18 year old Tatenda Kapuya who hanged himself with a sheet from a roof truss at St Faith High School in Mutare on September 23.
In a statement, Shamwari Yemwanasikana said there is need for the country to address the issues that have also seen adults taking their lives.
“As Shamwari Yemwanasikana we call for collaborative efforts by CSOs and relevant government ministries to raise awareness on mental health. Media has an important role to play in this call to action. Together we can save a life, together we can prevent suicide, one student, and one person at a time. Yes, suicide can be prevented. We need to address this issue as a nation, we have seen media reports of adults who have committed suicide and we now have students committing suicide. We cannot continue ignoring the fact that we have a crisis that needs to be addressed. Our mental health matters and it needs to be taken care of,” read the Statement
The organisation called for the capacitation of teachers and encouraged parents to incline their ears towards their children.
“Students spend most of their time at school in the care of teachers and school authorities. Teachers and school authorities have an important role to play in raising awareness on suicide and create safe spaces for students to learn. We already have guidance and counselling teachers in schools. They need capacity building on psycho- social support so that they can offer support to students with mental distress and anxiety.
“Fellow students should also create a conducive learning environment for others. Bullying is a potential contributing factor and fellow students should desist from such behavior. We encourage parents to give an ear to the silent cries of their children and take up issues raised or noticed. The month of October is Mental Health Awareness month. As we walk into the month of October we need to go back to the drawing board and put measures in place that cater for students’ mental well- being.
“Examinations are fast approaching and we need collective efforts in assisting students with stress management and anxiety. Churches, government ministries, CSOs parents and guardians all have a role to play in preventing suicide and ensuring that mental health of students is taken care of. The time is now to stir conversations around mental health and anxiety. Conversations should also be done everywhere, in places of worship and communities, in schools and homes. Everyone, every stakeholder and every leader in their capacity has a part to play in preventing suicide. Prevention of suicide is not an individual problem,” said Shamwari Yemwanasikana.
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