A reminder that we must strive for a better life for all

By Noni Mokati Time of article published Oct 10, 2019

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Today and tomorrow, the world will be observing two events that have become vital to many communities, particularly in South Africa, as they highlight various challenges.

These are World Mental Health Day held every year on October 10 and International Day of the Girl Child on October 11.

Recognising and acknowledging these events is imperative as they also relate to Goal 3 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal which promotes health and well-being for everyone at any age and Goal 5 which calls for gender equality and the emancipation of women and young girls.

When it comes to mental health, the data released has been overwhelming over the past few years with suicide rates increasing. According to the World Health Organisation, one person dies every 40 seconds.

In a world with extreme poverty and an increasing number of people jostling for scarce resources or struggling to find work, stress levels and anxieties rise.

While those who have the means pay for treatment and obtain the necessary medication, what happens to those from impoverished communities?

While previously many have suggested there are far cheaper ways to reduce stress, we need to discuss how we as a soci ety can make medication affordable and create easy access for those who can’t afford it. We need to create conversations on how Universal Health Coverage can ensure that the ordinary folk don’t bankrupt themselves over exorbitant costs for medical care and medicines.

Also, it would help find a way to help those with mental health issues so they don’t have to suffer in silence.

During this year’s World Mental Health Day, we also need to go beyond the exterior of those who appear to be strong and coping with life. It is often asked when we refer to the SAPS as to who “polices the police?”

A user on Twitter wrote that she was shocked to learn that her psychologist had committed suicide.

This shocking incident is proof enough that many of us live in hard times and that mental health issues affects everyone at some point in their life and that we need much stronger and more effective mechanisms to deal with it.

The issue of empowering young girls across the globe is one that we can never get tired of speaking about.

The recent femicide cases and sexual violence against many women in this country has seen discussions about what is the future for young girls in our country.

A high school student following the death of University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mretyana remarked that she was frightened at the great lengths that some men would go to rob a young woman of their education and future.

According to the student, it appeared that those who murdered young varsity students were well aware that education was the key to unlock the future and led to emancipation and the freedom of young women and girls, and therefore were prepared to stop at nothing to ensure that women and girls did not achieve their goals.

Over the past few years, we have seen campaigns such as Take A Girl Child to Work and initiatives around sanitary pads aimed at ensuring young girls can go to school and not lose out on their schoolwork.

As we observe these days, let’s remember the role that each and everyone of us can play in improving the lives and potentially the future of others.

* Mokati is the group development content editor at Independent Media.

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