17 September 2018

Namibia: Miss Namibia to Focus On Youth Mental Health

Miss Namibia 2018 Selma Kamanya has promised to lead a campaign that will focus on mental health issues faced by the youth.

She said this on Friday during the launch of the project in Windhoek in the presence of deputy health minister Juliet Kavetuna.

"As Miss Namibia, part of my social responsibility will be to help the youth live a healthy mental life. This I will do by working with various stakeholders to inform and educate them about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse," Kamanya said.

The 21-year-old economics student at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) added that she will visit schools to discuss social problems such as peer pressure.

"I will work with professionals in the mental health field to see how best we can end stigmatisation, and how to reintegrate the youth and all those having mental health problems," she said.

Kavetuna said mental health awareness is something that is still frowned upon by the public, and that a prominent figure like Miss Namibia supporting it will help people understand it better.

"When awareness is created, where everyone understands their mental condition, then only can we impact mental health," she noted.

The politician added that Namibia only has only two mental health facilities to cater for government patients - Ward 16 at Oshakati, and a mental health centre in Windhoek.

She said, these two facilities are already overcrowded.

"Ward 16 can only house 120 patients, but there are currently 250 patients, with only one psychiatrist. The centre in Windhoek receives over 400 daily visits, with two psychiatrists and some medical officers and interns assisting," she said.

Kavetuna explained that the campaign would advocate the reduction of alcohol consumption because most of the mental disorders young people are going through result from drug and alcohol abuse.

People should all strive to advance mental health awareness because it does not discriminate against anyone, she added.

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