University Students Fight Mental Health Issues

University students in Bulawayo have embarked on a campaign to fight mental health issues in tertiary institutions and high schools. Mental health issues have become prevalent in tertiary learning institutions and students plunge into depression while some resort to suicide due to lack of professional assistance.

The campaign is spearheaded by The Middle, an advocacy group based at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) aimed at fighting suicide and depression in tertiary institutions. It targets young people from various areas who are in need of mental health counselling services.

The project was initiated by Nanji-Tswa Banda, founder and CEO of Dignity Africa Foundation while Ahmed Khan Asani is the lead researcher and campaign initiator.

The campaign’s publicity officer and mental health champion, Zibusiso Munandi, told CITE in an interview that the initiative was by the increase in cases of mental health at tertiary institutions.

“The Middle is an advocacy group that fights for the elimination of suicide and depression among tertiary institutions and high school students. The initiative targets youths and although we have Nust as our main point of operation, the group accommodates anyone who may need the service.”

Munandi said the group aims at availing professional mental health counsellors, showing empathy to mental health victims and interactivity where students can work on projects and campaigns that may assist other people who may be in similar situations.

“Our strategy employs three facets. The first one is awareness. We will be giving our students access to various mental health experts where they will be educated on the seriousness and closeness of suicide due to mental health disorders. Dignity Africa Foundation will avail a range of counsellors to ensure that students get professional help,” he said.

“The second facet is empathy, where we make sure that people know they are not alone. There will be sharing of real-life experiences with suicide and depression. We want to make sure people understand that this is a real-life problem.

“The last facet is interactivity, where we will offer projects and campaigns the students can participate in virtually or physically, that are fun and educational. This will enable students to learn more and care about mental health.”

Munandi said the campaign will be effective in that it will introduce the much-needed counselling services to tertiary institutions students in order to reduce mental health issues and stigma surrounding the topic.

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology

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