Implement Mandatory Mental Health Education in Schools

Implement Mandatory Mental Health Education in Schools

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Jo Rust started this petition to Minister Angie Motshekga (Office of the Minister of Basic Education - South Africa)

First off: Thank you for your time. Please note that anyone can sign this petition, no matter where you might be in the world. I cannot do this on my own and need all the help I can get. You can help by signing & sharing this petition.

Mental illness affects everyone. Whether you are someone who suffers from mental illness or know someone who does. Currently, a staggering 90% of people in desperate need of mental health care in South Africa, will not receive the necessary care. (According to this article from Wits) Maintaining good Mental Health has long been an issue of grave importance on a global scale. Now, more than ever, the Covid 19 pandemic is shining a spotlight on the enormous shortcomings of mental health education and care in South Africa. 

Every 40 seconds, a person takes their own life. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds globally. In South Africa, 9% of all teenage deaths are due to suicide and the numbers are increasing.

As a Mental Health activist and aspiring Mental Health professional, and someone who lives (and has for the past 30 years) with Mental Illness - I wish I had been equipped with tools to help me better deal with my mental ill-health, instead of having to wait until I found myself in severe crisis later on in life. 

In 2014, I set the world record as the first woman in history to have circumnavigated the entire African continent on a motorcycle, solo. A journey that saw me travel 45 000 km (18000miles) through 28 countries. A journey I undertook to fight against and overcome my own difficulties with mental illness. 

Twenty, thirty years ago mental illness was a taboo topic. I remember growing up we weren't even allowed to talk about mental health difficulties. These days we've become more accepting of talking about mental health. But still not about mental illness. You talk about practicing mindfulness and yoga and everyone's on board. But start talking about the ins and outs of anxiety, panic attacks and depression and everyone goes quiet. This is one of our biggest problems. 

The other is that we're not equipped by the educational system to deal with mental health difficulties. If we were, it would potentially make for a more balanced and empowered generation. With the severity of issues such as gender-based violence, cyberbullying, racism, homophobia, sexual and physical abuse (and more), it is of utmost importance that we equip our youth with the skills and tools to better deal with a plethora of difficulties. 

By making it mandatory to promote and teach Mental Health/ Mental Health Therapy Modalities as a subject at school level, we can help equip future generations to better cope with mental illness before potentially reaching a point of personal crisis.

This campaign aims to: 

  • Have mental health education be implemented as mandatory in schools throughout South Africa. 
  • Necessary training of current teachers to equip them with the knowledge needed to present such training. 
  • Addition to the curriculum for the training of future teachers. 

We have a number of volunteers working on this project, including input from mental health professionals and professionals with experience in the development of educational material. 

We owe it to our children to equip them with every possible tool available to empower them for whatever may lie ahead of them tomorrow.

Mental Health 4 All NPC :

0 have signed. Let’s get to 7,500!
At 7,500 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top 10% on in the UK!