The Countdown to this Mental Health Awareness Month
With a few more days to go to the end of May, we at Gbm-em would like to round up our Mental Health Awareness Camapign with a call to Hope.
It was with much delight that we listened to a Ted Talk by a prominent Mental Health Advocate: Ms Gayathri Ramprasad’s. Her talk is definitely worth listening to, because she not only advocates for better Mental Health Awareness, but she urges us all to be the Hope for one person at a time. Ms Gayathri is the author of the memoir, Shadow in the Sun, reviewed on our contributor’s blog here.
Key Points in her talk
We took away three key points in her talk with regards to what we could start by doing irrespective of social and health policies in place.
- Reach out and show you care
- Share your Story
- Get Involved
Ms Ramprasad, was institutionalized and heavily medicated several times. She was rejected, abused and largely stigmatised especially in an Indian Culture which from every indication treats mental illness as silently as in Africa. Yet, she says that she got hope above all from two people who told her she could rise above her depression and suicide ideation. One was a stranger she’d never met before, a far relation of her husband’s, and the second was a care giver at one mental institution where she found herself at some point. It is this hope that helped her to keep Faith, and to be ever determined to share same one person at a time.
We at the Gbm-em Foundation are hoping and working to do the same
After 18 years of battling with Gabriel Bebonbechem’s Epilepsy and Mental Illness in whichever way we could, we lost him. This was yet another tragic story of marginalization, rejection, abuse, stigmatization and poor management of one of society’s most vulnerable people.
Instead of coping with our pain in all silence of the heart, we decided to not only share Gabriel’s story with the world, but to also Be the Hope for several others who may be hopeless and helpless.
The Foundation has since its creation last August 2014, launched and implemented a few projects all in the bid of being the Hope one person at a time. The Foundation’s main programme area for its recent project on inclusive education for young epileptics, is the Lebialem Division of the South West Region of Cameroon. This was Gabriel’s Division of birth, and from recent baseline studies commissioned, there is still a very high prevalence of stigma and rejection of such vulnerable persons due to false myths, beliefs and absence of a mental health policy.
While we call on better policies to be voted and instituted for a more concrete trickle down effect, we do not undermine the necessity and imperativeness of a massive grassroots engagement. We have to dare 2talk about it, and then Hope to be the Hope for one another.