I just wrote an article about mental health with an eye toward World Mental Health Day, which is observed on October 10 by the World Health Organization. Positive reviews and an overwhelming response have been received. Many of the people I spoke with indicated they had no idea how difficult it is to deal with mental health concerns. Furthermore, it became obvious that we cannot allow the situation to persist after considering the figures on Namibia’s suicide rate. We must prioritize mental health if we want to ensure Namibia’s long-term well-being.
Just saying that it needs to be a priority is straightforward, but how do we accomplish it? How do we go about recognizing that something needs to be done as a country and taking concrete action as individuals? Between January 2021 and May 2022, there were 679 suicides in the nation, including 559 males, 91 women, and 29 children. There is a genuine national emergency. As a result, Namibia has Africa’s fourth-highest rate of suicides. Because they just lack the skills to cope or the resources to turn to when they most need assistance, men, women, and children are taken from us before their time.
Currently, in Namibia, instead of addressing our problems, it seems that we turn to drugs, drink, or violence, which just makes the situation worse. I believe that we require a complete paradigm shift, not just in Namibia but also internationally. Making mental health and well-being for all a worldwide priority is the theme of this year’s Mental Health Day as a result. We can find some solace in the fact that hardly any nation prioritizes mental health. Each of us has a lot to learn.
As I indicated in the previous piece, it is easier said than done because I have ignored my mental health and well-being. I have a gazillion justifications for not giving my mental health the priority it deserves. I’m simply really busy. Many people may be familiar with this. We must stop this loop. We take a sick day when we’re unwell, but I’ve never heard of anyone taking a mental health day when everything gets to be too much. If you ever asked, many supervisors would laugh you out of their office. When it comes to mental health, there needs to be a societal transformation.
There isn’t a magic wand to wave; instead, I discovered that I just needed to make time for the things that were important to me. The most crucial of these was learning how to say “NO.” When we do eventually reach the safety and comfort of our home, we just collapse in a heap and go to sleep because we are being pushed in so many directions and trying to be everything to everyone in every aspect of our life. The cycle is continued the following day, and we never break it until the cycle breaks us.
Namibia has to treat mental illness seriously since it affects every aspect of our lives and how well we do as a country. The Ministry of Health and Social Services cannot make all the decisions. Every group, business, institution of higher learning, and the individual must prioritize mental health. Let the 10th of October serve as the beginning of a mentality change in our nation where we proudly prioritize mental health.