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Seychelles raising awareness on mental health among the youth |23 February 2024

Seychelles raising awareness on mental health among the youth

Armed with their brush and paint, students from various schools gathered at the Wellness Centre in Les Cannelles yesterday for an ‘Art Collab’ to showcase their understanding of mental health on the outside wall of the centre.

It is part of a three-day ‘Mental Health Fest’ organised by the Health Care Agency  in collaboration with the Rotary Clubs of District 9220, to create awareness about mental health in the country, promote positive mental health, showcase different services working towards betterment of mental health as well as remove stigma. It is also in commemoration of Rotary Day on February 23, 2024.

The ‘Art Collab’ and the other activities are being held under the theme ‘Positive Mental Health: A Renewed Hope’.

When officially launching the event yesterday morning, Health Minister Peggy Vidot said the promotion of mental health is an integral part of the pursuit of better health for all, and mental health cannot be separated from any other aspect of wellbeing.

Minister Vidot stated that stigmas on mental health should stop. She said Seychelles has come a long way in understanding mental health and mental ill-health, but stigma remains a barrier to the recognition of a person’s needs and access to the care that will help to restore wellbeing.

“It is also important to understand that a mental disorder is a disorder of the whole person. Just as we do not define a person as an arthritis or appendicitis, a mental illness or condition should not be our definition of that human being,” said Minister Vidot.

She also noted that the transformation of the former ‘lazil’ into the wellness centre reflects the theme of positive mental health and a renewed hope. “The very concept of this centre is an affirmation of wellness, a place where hope is restored and lives are rebuilt with the support and dedicated care of a multidisciplinary team,” said the minister.

From 9am till 3.30pm the students making use of different colourful paints sponsored by Penlac Company Limited, depicted mental health through beautiful flowers, rainbow and people.

Roselda Pierre, a talented secondary five student from Beau Vallon secondary school, has beautifully captured the essence of hope amidst the challenges of mental health in her drawing. In her artwork, she skillfully portrayed the notion that even in the midst of struggles, there is always a glimmer of hope.

“We drew a flower – one on the outside to show that there are many people suffering from mental diseases and the flower inside is growing to show that there is hope,” said Roselda, who added that there are different forms of mental health such as depression and anxiety. “It’s all about their emotion,” she added.

Brigitte Gbilimou, a clinical psychologist, explained that the involvement of young students was because they wanted every generation to be aware of mental health.

“Mental health is something that we are putting a lot of emphasis on this year,” said Ms Gbilimou.

Also present at yesterday’s event were the president of Rotary Club of Victoria, Ambassador Marie Pierre Lloyd, World Health Organisation (WHO) representative Dr Rex Mpazanje, Rotary and Rotaract members, staff and patients of mental health services, primary and secondary school students.  

The launch also featured performances by two renowned artists – singer Tania and poet Raspyek.

The ‘Mental health fest’ which is unfolding over three days, aligns with similar activities in other countries within Rotary Clubs of District 9220, including Djibouti, Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, and Reunion.

Today’s activity is an outreach programme in collaboration with other services and stakeholders to reach more people in the community and there will be an open day tomorrow at the Camion Hall, Victoria, where various organisations will be showcasing their services to help with mental health in collaboration with mental health services.


Anika Cathene

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