Durban — In celebrating World Mental Health Day on Tuesday the Hollywood Foundation donated R10 million towards the refurbishment of the KwaZulu-Natal Children’s Hospital in Durban.
The money will be used for the creation of a state-of-the-art,15-bed mental health ward for adolescent girls with neurological conditions. The ward will offer a nurturing environment and specialised care to aid in their recovery and well-being.
The hospital, formerly known as the Addington Children’s Hospital, treats children suffering from mental illnesses. The hospital was closed in 1984 and then reopened in 2013. It has treated more than 48 000 patients.
Chief executive of the KZN Children’s Hospital Taryn Millar said the donation would make a huge difference not just to the hospital but in the province.
“In KZN, where there are only 10 child and adolescent psychiatric beds, the restoration of the female adolescent psychiatric ward will mean we can now care for an additional 15 young patients. Our deepest gratitude goes to the Hollywood Foundation for their unwavering support. We look forward to working together in partnership for our children,” said Millar.
Hollywood Foundation spokesperson Vuyisile Ngobese said the foundation was committed to improving mental health-care access for vulnerable communities. Ngobese said the mental health ward would serve as a beacon of hope for countless young lives.
“We are for the empowerment of the youth for KZN. We all know that the facility was closed years back. It brings us joy to be one of the corporations in KZN to open doors for the facility and for the adolescent to be able to get treatment,” said Ngobese.
Ngobese urged other corporations to come together to help uplift vulnerable communities.
Media personality, former Generations actress, businesswoman and mental health advocate Sophie Ndaba was among the guests at the event. Ndaba urged parents to be aware of the signs of mental health disorders in children.
“As parents, we need to be aware, communicate with our children and ensure that our homes are safe for them to be able to vent, instead of taking out their frustrations on social media. We must try to understand our kids through their body language and behaviour,” said Ndaba.
Ndaba also reflected on her journey of recovering from depression.
“I know how serious mental health is, I suffered from it. I was body-shamed on social media, people sending RIPs. Even my kids suffered from that. There was even a moment where they called my kids from school to send condolences on my death. Some were even saying I was dying of Aids,” said Ndaba.
Ntokozo Mbatha, of KwaMashu, has a 10-year-old child with autism who is being treated at the hospital. She urged parents to educate themselves about mental illness in children.
“The first step is to accept the condition because this does not only affect the child, but also you as the parents – you become depressed. I will advise other parents who have children who suffer from mental illness to follow doctors’ orders and join support groups,” said Mbatha.
Mbatha pleaded with parents to seek help.
“Most people are not educated on mental illnesses, that’s why those who suffer from depression are being stigmatised,” she said.
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