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Some residents of Swakopmund took part in a walk-and-run event to heighten awareness of mental health and associated illnesses.

This year, mental health awareness is done under the theme "Making Mental Health and Well-Being for All a Global Priority." 

October has been declared as Mental Health Awareness Month, aimed at educating and raising awareness about mental health and reducing stigma and discrimination towards people with mental issues.

Psychologist Marcella Katjijova says that although Namibia is ranked as having one of the lowest mental health scores in the world, mental health is steadily becoming a concern.

She says that society has long interpreted mental health as insanity, saying mental health is distinct from mental sickness.

"So if I am in a sad space, you will notice and say you are a bit down because the way I am feeling, the way that my body language is screaming, is like I am not in a good place right now."

Setting unrealistic goals can also lead to mental health problems when they fail.

"September, October, that's when you realise that we did not actually execute the things we wanted. We lost loved ones. We just could not make it. A lot of things happen, and when it hits you, the self-blame, the self-shame, and also not having great social support, it sort of just gets you down, and then when you are under pressure, a lot of things just happen. We get so scared just talking about it, just saying 'I am not okay. I don't know what's going on with me' because that actually means that you are having a mental health problem."

Also speaking at the event was the founder of National Mental Health Care Namibia, Cathy Kambanda.

"So, when I am not okay, then I am not okay. It is okay for people to know that I am not okay. Create that space for yourself and say 'okay, my mental health is important'. It is important that yes, I am afraid of being judged. I want to stop this thing. They say a man cannot break down."

The walk-and-run awareness campaign was organised by Markatjie Investment in collaboration with the National Mental Health Namibia and the Swakopmund Municipality.

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Photo Credits
cosdec swakopmund

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Author
Stefan Uirab