Mental Health AwarenessSister Ayanda Mvubelo
My name is Sister Ayanda Mvubelo, a second year Novice, and I am the South African Region’s Justice and Peace Representative.
Mental Health is an issue that has been close to my heart for several years. October being the annual Mental Health awareness month, I was touched by the efforts invested by others, and I wanted to do my part. In solidarity with other groups, the Novitiate Community of Our Lady of Fatima, Durban North, decided to do something constructive to witness our support for Mental Health. The decision was to take part in a Mental Health walk in order to destigmatizing Mental health and to raise awareness for those who suffer daily from this affliction.
The community project to participate in the walk necessitated working on a banner the night before and purchasing the required green T-shirts which were worn as a sign of the cause we were supportive of. Our community atmosphere was one of much excitement.
The chosen venue for the walk was the Durban beachfront. I had expected to see more people supporting Mental health awareness, but because of the Pandemic, the walk this year needed to be different. A requirement was for the walk to be virtual; people were taking videos and pictures and posting them on Social media. The weather for the walk was perfect and we took videos, pictures and sang. We also had a glimpse of the Sun Coast Casino.
The Mental Health walk was driven by the South African Depression and Anxiety group along with KZN Mental Health advocacy group. The walk was part of the WHO International Mental health Awareness day, on the 10 October 2020. I have been supporting SADAG (South African Depression and Anxiety group for years. It’s a Non- profit organization, “a forefront of patient advocacy” (Sadag). They help patients and callers throughout South Africa who are in need of being helped regarding queries on their Mental Health. They offer online counselling for all age groups, as well as providing School Programs, Webinars etc. They are big on educating and Destigmatizing mental health.
The work that this organization does I can connect with Justice and peace. Justice is about the interdependence of mercy, harmony and peace. Many people with mental health are often sideline by the society. They are rejected and misunderstood. Justice and peace speaks out for the voiceless. For those who suffer and are afraid to express their feelings, due to the stigma that suppresses openness. Justice and peace does not force or impose on anyone to accept but it broadens our ways of thinking. “Working for a more just society where the basic human rights of all people are respected especially those of the poor, of women and others who are marginalised” (Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference).
We are happy that we participated. It left a mark in us.
The Novitiate Community at the Durban Beachfront on Mental Health Awareness Day.
Left to Right: Sister Ngan, Sister Ann Cunningham, Sister Ayanda, Sister Minh Ha, Sister Mathapelo, and Sister Dominique.
In front of the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban.
Left to Right: Sister Ayanda (crouching), Sister Dominique, Sister Minh Ha, Sister Ann, Sister Ngan, Sister Zamadlamini and Sister Mathapelo.