Bullying in early childhood has a negative impact on the victim’s mental health in later life, says UKZN Bachelor of Nursing 4th year Psychiatric Nursing student, Ms Lindiwe Nzimande.
Nzimande was speaking to Phoenix community members at a Mental Health Open Day at Starwood Psychiatric Clinic hosted by UKZN Psychiatric Nursing students in association with the clinic to commemorate February as a Child and Adolescent Suicide Awareness Month.
‘Bullying increases the risk of suicide, depression and schizophrenia,’ said Nzimande.
The seven UKZN students - Nzimande, Ms Skye Crouch, Ms Nontobeko Jali, Mr Wandile Mthembu, Ms Amanda Ngcobo, Ms Marcel Perumal and Ms Nita Singh, all spoke extensively about mental health, focusing on bullying, suicide, and the stigmatisation of mental illness.
‘Suicide does not discriminate and is preventable,’ declared Jali. She said men were more likely to commit suicide but women were more likely to attempt suicide.
Jali shared the Suicide Hotline number with the community: 0800567567 SMS 31393.
Crouch said: ‘Stigmatisation in mental health is widespread, even in the medical profession. This may come from misguided views about individuals with mental health problems as being unpredictable, violent or bewitched.’ She said there was an urgent need to address stigma in mental health, as it had a detrimental effect on treatment outcomes and effective recovery. ‘Mental health is significant to the holistic approach to patient care. Ensuring health and wellbeing of an individual physically and mentally,’ said Crouch.
The students, who will continue to work at Phoenix until July, are in the process of compiling a community profile and community intervention focusing on mental wellness.
The open day was hosted in collaboration with the Clinic.