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Speak Out-Seek Help Music Festival Launched …As It Prepares To Go Live Next Month To Break Mental Health Stigma

By: Ndinelao Shingenge

The Speak Out Seek Help (SOSH) concert that was launched on Friday aims to spread mental health awareness.

The concert is organised by artist Naftalie Amukwelele popularly known as ‘D-Naff’ in partnership with the #BreakFree movement and LifeLine/ChildLine. It also strives to empower musicians and other public figures as role models to influence Namibians to normalise mental illness and seek help.

The SOSH music festival will takes place on 8 October at the NamPower convention centre and will see various artists perform namely; Lady-May, Papa Shikongeni (Hishishi Papa), Ras Sheehama, Jericho, Maranatha, Swart Baster, and Dj Ambizzy.

Set to take place two days before World Mental Health Day, the concert also aspires to raise funds for musicians to access mental health services. This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day 2022 is ‘Make mental health for all a global priority.’

At the launch, Amukwelele said many musicians are finding it difficult to seek mental health help due to the pride that comes from the bases of not wanting the public to know about their struggles.

He added that musicians prefer to seek mental health help from costly private institutions.

“Many musicians, because of their status in society, are reluctant to seek mental health support services from public service providers, and are more likely to make use of private mental health practitioners,” he said.

Meanwhile at the same event, Vernica Theron from the #BreakFree movement, run by the Office of the First Lady says that high rates of alcohol and substance abuse, divorce, suicide among men and the youth are prevailing.

She said that most reported mental health struggles are anxiety resulting from academic pressure, depression and paranoia.

“Young people are telling us, doctor my blade has become my best friend. As I put on my school uniform, I make sure that my razor blade is closest to my heart,” said Theron.

She said parents or guardians tend to not pay attention when their children reach out to them because they believe that young people can’t be stressed or depressed as they do not pay bills or have any ‘real problems’.

“SOSH appeals to adults to pay attention and listen to their young ones when they try to talk about their mental issues.”

Julia Heita

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