My name is Rephethile Kgwale and I’m the founder of a campaign called Matters of the brain, I’ve been living with Bipolar Disorder, Generalized Anxiety disorder and Dysthemia for eight years.
After being diagnosed I experienced judgement from society due to the expectations they had of me. I realize how stigmatized mental health is especially around the black community. I realized the gap and need to start this campaign to find ways to eliminate and educate people more about mental health in a safe space.
Matters of the brain is a non-judgmental platform implemented for those suffering from various mental health issues, those whose loved ones are dealing and not dealing with their diagnosis. This campaign aims to target mainly the black community within South Africa.
It mainly focuses on these parameters because black people are not well educated to deal with and accept mental health challenges. Many black people are not comfortable to engage in conversations about mental illnesses. Black people can’t differentiate the different disorders, therefore our aim is to open the channels and create a safe educative platform. A platform that will clear the confusion and create a detailed supportive forum.
The minute you start talking about your mind, people get very anxious, because we associate that with being who we are, fundamentally with “us” — us as a person, us as an individual, our thoughts, our fears, our hopes, our aspirations, our everything.
Feeling miserable could, in fact, be seen as part of you or an extension of your social world. Applying a medical label to your emotions is not always something that everyone with depression, for example, is comfortable with.
Banishing the stigma attached to mental health issues can go a long way toward facilitating genuinely useful conversations.
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