Social media is a factor in ‘mental health problems’ among young people in South Africa: Pastoral worker

A study by South African researchers indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened cases of mental health problems among children and adolescents in the country. In partnership with the Association of Catholic Ministers of Mental Healththe Catholic Healthcare Association of Southern Africa (CATHCA) manages a one year project develop MHM in parishes.

In the August 29 interview, Mr Brown called on parents to watch their children, lamenting that children are often left alone “with tablets, smartphones and televisions to keep them safe”.

He called on parents to “listen to their children, spend time with them and communicate with them. Although most parents spend long hours at work, it is very important to communicate with their children.

Despite progress in some countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that people with mental disorders often face discrimination and stigma.

“We try as much as possible to engage young people on the reality of mental health; in most cases, they don’t open immediately, but after a few consecutive sharing sessions, they start sharing. Stigma is mostly about adults,” Mr. Brown told ACI Africa.

In a separate interview with CATHCA’s Skills Development Coordinator, initiatives to foster MHM in parishes in the Archdiocese of Johannesburg were highlighted.

“Two Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese of Johannesburg, namely All Saints in Ennerdale and Our Lady of Mercy in Emdeni, have initiated parish mental health ministry,” Dr. Shula Melese told ACI Africa during the interview. Tuesday, August 30.

Dr. Melese added, “We have chosen these two parishes as a pilot with the aim of expanding the ministry in the Archdiocese of Johannesburg. The next step will be to expand the ministry within the Episcopal Conference.

He continued, “The purpose of the ministry is to increase awareness of mental health issues, reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with mental illness, provide spiritual guidance and support to people living with mental illness and to welcome people with mental illness into the sacramental and community life of the Church”.

“In accordance with the request of Bishop Victor Phalana, we will implement the ministry in 4 parishes in the Diocese of Klerksdorp in 2023,” he said in reference to the Local Ordinary of the South African Catholic Diocese.

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