Youths fight mental health problems through arts

LOCAL arts hub, House of Arts Association, in collaboration with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe has moved in to fight problems associated with mental health among youths in high-density suburbs.

Last week the organisation hosted an event running under the theme, Creating a resilient community through addressing mental health issues and promoting youth climate action at the Stodart Complex in Mbare.

A number of activities were lined up and these included performance arts, sports and awareness campaigns carrying the agenda on mental health.

One of the participating organisations, Help Healing Health Foundation’s founder Ratidzo Mupinda said her organisation does capacity building, mental health workshops, trauma healing and different psycho social support activities to help those who are in need.

“We have done several workshops mainly for youths in Hatcliffe and we are also planning to work with youths in Mbare, we want to collaborate with Topodzi Foundation which is part of the community with this initiative,” she said.

“As Help Healing Health for those seeking help, we first do an art therapy programme that includes poetry, paintings, canvas and artworks that have illustrations about life.

“After that we teach them what trauma and mental health is about and we usually give them the opportunity to find a solution, after we talk to them we just don’t tell them what to do.

“So we have workshops where we teach people on how to cope when one is feeling low, which include having a conversation with someone and our sessions are free.

“We need to partner with other organisations that have direct links to youths, we might have the skills and ideas, but we do not have direct links to youths in different communities.”

Kumbe Kumbe content creator Simbarashe Daniel Chikwana said their organisation is an art-based organisation that engages, facilitates and advocates towards community issues through arts.

“We host art therapy lessons which are done on Mondays,” he said.

“We are based in Chitungwiza and we mostly do mural paintings which are graphic artwork painted or applied directly to a wall, ceiling or other permanent substrate and we also do skits to advocate societal issues.

“Our organisation has also done mural paintings that advocate against gender- based violence and awareness for people to wash their hands during Covid-19 outbreak.”

For Youths by Youths is also a youth initiative group based in Mufakose that helps youths between 10 years and 35 years focussing on issues that include SRHR, menstrual hygiene, environmental management and drug abuse.

"Drug abuse is the main factor in mental health issues,” he said.

“We have addicts and they reach a point where they become mentally disturbed, so as an organisation we are empowering the young ones about drugs and the effects so if someone is aware of the complications and challenges then they can overcome mental health problems.

Bringing Joy, Love and Life founder Makanaka Mavesere said they had a programme called kadography, which had a collective of creatives under the age of 18 and people as young as 15.

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