Maseru, Apr.07– With increasing concern over young people who continue to commit suicide because of depression, Mosepele —- Foundation has encouraged civil society organisations, business leaders and the government of Lesotho to prioritise mental health.
In their statement, the Foundation emphasises a need to take a serious action to respond to mental health issues in the country. They state that if nothing is done to address the issue, young people will continue to die. They thus insist that Basotho should join hands and address the mental health challenges as they need serious attention.
The Foundation encourages people to know their mental health status as they are urged to get tested for HIV, TB, sugar diabetes and cancer so that they know their status and action is taken on time where there is need for intervention. They point out that there is a need to engage in preventive measures to solve problems at community level.
They call upon the media to have programmes where they invite experts to discuss mental health problems and come up with coping mechanisms and remedies. They say the media should not only talk about mental health when they announce the painful deaths caused by depression to young people. They emphasise that mental health issues are as serious as politics.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), ‘Depression is one of the leading causes of disability. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. People with severe mental health conditions die prematurely – as much as two decades early – due to preventable physical conditions.
The organisation states that recently there has been increasing acknowledgement of the important role mental health plays in achieving global development goals. It states that regardless of progress in some countries, people with mental health conditions often experience severe human rights violations, discrimination, and stigma.
“Many mental health conditions can be effectively treated at low cost, yet the gap between people needing care and those with access to care remains substantial. Effective treatment coverage remains extremely low”, says WHO.
“Increased investment is required on all fronts: for mental health awareness to increase understanding and reduce stigma; for efforts to increase access to quality mental health care and effective treatments; and for research to identify new treatments and improve existing treatments for all mental disorders” it adds.
Mental Health is described by WHO as a “state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.