Soweto, Johannesburg
4

Schools Involved

4

Disorders Targeted

Being an Activator inspired Nombulelo Ngwentle to follow her passion of raising mental health issues. “My personal experiences allowed me to understand how important it is to take care of, and to be aware of my mental being. This led me to a deeper understanding of the mental health negligence that children are put under.” As a recent intern at the 1873 FM Radio Station, based in Sandton, Ngwentle now drives change by highlighting mental illness.

“I anchored a show called Health Talk, which focused on giving and spreading awareness on health issues, streamlining psychosomatic diseases, which emanate from the mental instability of a person. I have been able to invite experts in the field of mental health, including psychologists and counsellors, to share their expertise. Since the inception of the show a month ago, I have been able to increase my audience to both the young and adults. I have managed to deal with topics such as Dementia, Schizophrenia, Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Autism and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have also managed to conduct one interactive seminar at the studio, to discuss topics around mental illness.”

Reflecting on being an Activator, Ngwentle mentioned that it gave her more hope, as now she knows that there are other young people like her who value mental health. “The tools gained from the training gave me more confidence as I had people to seek guidance from, and I learned new ways on how to overcome obstacles.”

Ngwentle shares her plans to promote positive mental health to children between the ages of ten to twelve, through classroom presentations and interactions. This will begin in Soweto and progress to outer townships in the next year, which will lead to the campaign being done provincially within two or three years. Currently, she is in communication with the following four schools situated in Soweto, Johannesburg:Ebuhleni Primary School, Ezibukweni Primary School, Esithebeni Primary School and Ekuphumeleleni Primary School, towards implementing the mental awareness programme. “The Mental Health Awareness campaign seeks to educate children between the ages of ten and thirteen, about their mental wellbeing, and how to take care of their mental health,” she explains.

The main focal aspects are: Anxiety, Depression, Stress and Bullying, as well as how to cope with them. These aspects will be channelled in a way that is suitable for children.“They will need to identify who they can talk to when they are feeling sad, and what they should do to change their mood etc. However, I would like to point out that there have been challenges that I have been facing with the schools, regarding fully accessing the scholars to run my awareness programmes. The overall targeted partnerships are the Department of Education, the Department of Social Development and the South African Depression and Anxiety Group,” she said.

When asked who her hero was, Nombulelo didn’t think twice to respond. “Let me bring it home, because most of the time we tend to celebrate heroes from afar and take for granted those who made direct impact into our lives. I’d strongly say that my hero is my mom. This is because she has been an entrepreneur for over 24 years, supporting her immediate and extended family. She is the strongest woman I know.”

“My public hero is Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe. She plays a major role in our country as far as positive change and awareness is concerned, using fashion and her experience as a doctor. She positions herself in areas where she can easily be inspirational, regardless of gender stereotypes that are set by our society. I’d really love to meet her one day.”