UZ student, fights depression, suicide

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By PATIENCE MAKUKUTU

SHE lost her father at the age of eight and later her mother left her off to South Africa in search of greener pastures.

She was left in the hands or at the mercy of relatives.

Then at tertiary level the situation was no different, she was overwhelmed with challenging social experiences at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and got depressed to a point that she considered suicide to solve her problem.

The same year a friend of her committed suicide and it pained her so much. After that she decided not to lose any more friends.

A third-year student from the UZ studying political science, Munashe Perpetual Chidikwindi has plans to do a Let’s Talk support group to help people going through depression.

The programme will give young people a platform to talk about their issues so that they do not resort to drugs or suicide.

Chidikwindi, who is the founder and President of Soleil Levant Foundation, said they came up with Let’s talk because mental health is a priority to us as an organisation.

“Young people go through a lot of stuff from toxic childhoods, identity crisis, sexual harassment and lack of purpose or direction,” she said.

The founder added that through the programme they can get them the help that they need a community to foster a sense of belonging and help them find a sense of purpose in their life.

“As an organisation we hope to create a society where mental health is equally important as physical health

” We want to create a space where young people can open up about their problems without fear of being harassed, discriminated against, silenced or ignored,” the president said.

Soleil Levant foundation 2020 theme is, “Your mind matters too.”

According to Ministry of Health official Dr Eugenia Nyamukoho, a specialist psychiatrist depression is a mood disorder characterised by a persistent low mood and or loss of interest.

“Other symptoms are sleep disturbances (insomnia or hypersomnia), increased or reduced appetite, weight gain or loss, reduced energy, poor concentration, excessive guilt, hopelessness, helplessness, suicidal ideation,” she said

Nyamukoho said causes of depression are classified as biological, psychological and social.

“When one is depressed they need to seek help since it is one of major causes of suicide,” she said.

She said depression can be treated and a person can be happy again and enjoy their life.

“Mild depression is usually managed by psychotherapy-commonly referred to as talk therapy (counselling), moderate depression is managed by both medication and counselling.”

The president added that the support group will provide an environment where people can relax, play games and get their minds off the busy stressful life.

“They will be discussions, presentations, interactions, games, debates, movies, campaigns and guests will be invited too,” the founder said.

She added that the support group will be held twice every month preferably the first and last Saturday’s of each month.

“Let’s Talk programme is an extension of WhatsApp support group,” the president said

Soleil Levant Foundation was founded in 2018 and has 23 members.

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