Western Cape Government Health’s mental health programmes in Eden and Central Karoo hosted a community mental health awareness campaign on Saturday 12 October 2013 at the Outeniqua Farmers’ Market in George. The theme for the campaign was: transform your mind. The campaign provided the opportunity to reach out to the community and to educate them on mental health awareness, to de-stigmatize mental illness and to promote mental health and wellbeing.
Mental Health Day is celebrated annually in October with the aim to raise public awareness and promote open discussion of mental health issues.
Mr Theuns Botha, Western Cape Government Health Minister said: “The Western Cape Government is well aware of the service pressures with regard to mental health. However, in developing an appropriate mental health service we see the strengthening of district mental health services being the key to ensuring that people are identified earlier and receive appropriate mental health care services. Most mental illnesses can be treated without hospitalisation. What we experience is a perceived lack of beds with a small percentage of people with very serious mental illnesses who are re-admitted to hospital due to the lack of sufficient community-based, alternative, supervised residential placements. Furthermore the abuse of alcohol and substances by people with mental illnesses or people vulnerable to developing mental illnesses places enormous pressure on hospital beds. That is why we emphasize the importance of personal responsibility for your health.
A poster competition related to the theme was also launched in various facilities during the year and offered community members the opportunity to voice their opinions while competing for an array of prizes. Their efforts were showcased at the exhibition and visitors at the exhibit were encouraged to vote for their favourite poster, as well as interact with the members of the mental health team and to voice their support for a mentally healthy community free of discrimination against mental illness.
We are excited to announce the winners of the poster competition:
Category A (14-16yrs): 1st prize: Marcoreth Toua from Mossel Bay(R750); 2nd prize: Mariska Killian from Oudtshoorn (R500); and 3rd prize: Michaela Coetsee from Mossel Bay(R250).
Category B (17-25yrs): 1st prize: Jerome Pedro from Mossel Bay (R1000); 2nd prize: Willem Mintoor from Mossel Bay (R500); and 3rd prize: Heinrich Boshoff from Oudtshoorn (R250).
Category C (26yrs and older): 1st prize: Yolandé van Schalkwyk from Riversdale (R1500); 2nd prize: Yolandé van Schalkwyk from Riversdale (R500); and 3rd prize: Periëtte van Wyk from Riversdale (R250).
A huge congratulations to all our winners, you really did outstanding work!
We would like to thank everyone that visited and participated at the exhibition, and by doing that helped to make this event a success. We truly hope that this creative and educational campaign transformed the minds of our community.