By TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – AFRICAN countries must prioritise mental health facilities to curb suicides coinciding with the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19). This is the recommendation of an advocate for women’s empowerment as the two issues emerge a hot topic over the past months with the effects of the pandemic.
“Mental health and suicide facilities should be prioritised in Africa and made easily accessible for everyone,” said Sapi Bachi, the founder of Thando Channel, a video on demand platform in Africa.
Thando Channel was founded in Zimbabwe. It targets African women in the continent and abroad. Bachi indicated how the effects of COVID-19 had hugely impacted people in Africa and placed a spotlight on the need to normalise asking for help when experiencing mental health challenges or being suicidal. “The stigma has made it hard for people to speak out, which often leads to suicide.”
Thando Channel on Thursday hosted a virtual event tagged “Women’s Mental Health and the Pandemic.” Megan Vaughan, a Professor of African History and Health at University College London, said depression and suicide were often still taboo topics in Africa. However, she highlights that the recognition of depression as an illness, which is slowly increasing. Yet, despite efforts to raise awareness, there is a sense of resistance from the individuals, especially men, to utilise the available facilities. – CAJ News