By: Anele Gcwabe
We don’t need to explain the importance of investing in mental health and mental health care. The high number of suicide among the youth is a strong enough case. 2018 Activator and Lay councillor, Mercy Dube definitely agrees.
Dealing with depression herself, Dube realised the importance of providing support for people who are dealing with mental health. In April 2019, she started a support group for people who are dealing with mental health in the Phillippi, Cape Town. This is the support group that birthed Ke Nako Mental Health Foundation: Let’s talk mental health. “We needed to support each other because we are the ones who understood our emotions”, explains Dube. “But it was also educating and enhancing knowledge on mental health as it is important to invest in our mental health”, she continues.
Dube is the coordinator of Ke Nako Mental Health Foundation: Let’s talk mental health, where she also acts as a lay councillor. After she found out that she was dealing with depression, she was in great need of a support structure, but she didn’t have much of it. From this difficult time, she vowed to make sure that other people who were dealing with the same condition as she would have a better support structure because she would provide this for them. Because the project is based in Phillippi, the community thereof, are the primary beneficiaries. However, this does not mean members of other and outside communities are not welcome. Dube describes them as her “secondary beneficiaries”.
When asked what she hopes to achieve with this project, Dube says, “I want to assist people and make them realize that it is important to invest in mental health. I want them to know that mental illness don’t choose a type of person and it is not contagious. I want to help them to recover”.
She works closely with Phillippi CAN, Nelands CAN and Phillippi Village. She says that other Activators can be part of this initiative by assisting with workshops for personal development and connecting the initiative with partners who are interested in fighting for mental health.