Africa

E-Book To Help Cope With Lockdown Commemorates Mental Health Day

A guide to help the youth deal with confinement during the lockdown is being reissued to commemorate World Mental Health Day today (10 October) which is aimed at creating public awareness to make issues related to mental health a global priority.

Mental disorders comprise a broad range of problems, with different symptoms. However, they are generally characterized by some combination of abnormal thoughts, emotions, behaviour and relationships with others. Examples are schizophrenia, depression, mental retardation and disorders due to drug abuse. Most of these disorders can be successfully treated.

Honoris United Universities, whose subsidiaries in SA include higher education institution REGENT Business School and MANCOSA, has in conjunction with the Moroccan charity Sourire de Reda, which works to alleviate the silent pain of young people, published “My Care”. The digital booklet aims to help young people better understand what they are going through during lockdown by identifying the emotions caused by social distancing.

The e-book which provides young people with a series of recommendations and tips for getting through this period in the best possible mental state has been endorsed by the South African Federation for Mental Health and Befrienders South Africa.

Bharti Patel, president of the SA Federation of Mental Health (SAFMH), said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the general population, increasing levels of stress and anxiety as people adjusted to the lockdown regulations.

“Due to the lockdown, many companies experienced a loss in revenue and this has created more difficulties for businesses who might never recover from the losses. Employees faced uncertainty regarding their income which impacts the mental wellbeing of families.

“The SAFMH has received messages of distress from mental health care users who have found themselves stranded in situations that are compromising their mental well-being, while others have been seeking mental healthcare services they can access.

“The SAFMH is concerned about the younger population who are experiencing isolation and stress due to changing study patterns and the limited social interaction. We call on those who need help and support to reach out to the various support options available.

“The e-book helps to provide tools for young people to deal with the lockdown in the best way possible.”

“My Care” was developed through the joint expertise of Morocco-based Sourire de Reda organisation which offers suicide prevention and crisis support as well as the Faculties of Health Sciences of member institutions of the Honoris United Universities network in Africa. The e-book covers all aspects regarding youth in lockdown, from family life to school, including time management, food, sports, artistic activities and relationship with social networks among other aspects.

“We thank Honoris United Universities for their contribution in this booklet and their support for our organization. It is vital during this period of anxiety to make available simple and accessible tools for the youth, in order to approach the coming weeks in the best possible mental state,” said Meryeme Bouzidi Laraki, president of Sourire de Reda.

Sourire de Reda has observed that young people have been going through a period of stress and confusion during the lockdown. This distress can be linked to several factors: school pressure, lack of visibility on exams and competition to access schools and universities, isolation being far from friends, family and resourceful people, lack of privacy in their home, or the upsurge of cyber-harassment situations due to increase in time spent on the web.

Sourire de Reda also noted that for some young people, the conditions of the lockdown can be very hard. This is particularly the case for young people confined with an abusive family, those who suffer from addictions and are in “forced” withdrawal without psychological support, young people with severe physical disabilities, living with psychiatric disorders or even facing illness or death of a loved one without being able to be with them during these difficult times.

The “My CARE” e-book is available for download on the following websites:

www.mancosa.co.za

www.regent.ac.za

www.safmh.org

www.honoris.net

www.sourire2reda.org/

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