Stigmas regarding mental health issues often stem from myths and misunderstandings, and can leave those in need of treatment and support feeling isolated and more prone to addictions of various kinds.
An upcoming community outreach event, hosted by the Recovery Good News Centre and Akeso Alberton psychiatric hospital, aims to dispel such myths and misconceptions, and raise awareness about the professional resources available to help individuals and their families requiring treatment and support.
“There are so many barriers that prevent people from seeking the assistance they need when faced with mental health challenges. Through this community outreach, we are bringing together various experts to share information with the public,” says Megan Hosking, psychiatric intake clinician at Akeso.
“We often find that when people do not have an understanding of mental health, they may not recognise symptoms of mental problems in themselves or their loved ones. Many of us will go through difficult times when we may require expert support, particularly when these problems are causing disruption to one’s daily functioning at work or in their family and social relationships. This is no different to consulting a doctor when one has an illness affecting the body.
“We hope to empower the public to understand some of the common symptoms associated with various common mental health challenges, which may include feelings of anxiety, helplessness, depression and despair, among others,” she adds.
“Too often, when people are unaware that help is available they turn to drugs or alcohol to seek temporary relief, but this can lead to addiction and the many complex problems that go with substance abuse. Our message to the community is that help is available, and there is no shame in reaching out when support is needed.”
Members of the public are warmly invited to attend the event, which is being held on Saturday, 25 May from 08:00 to 13:00 at the Recovery Good News Centre, 7th Avenue in Mid Ennerdale. Entrance is free and
speakers will include Megan Hosking and psychiatrist, Dr Bokang Letlotlo, who practises at Akeso Clinics.