On the World Health Day—7th April 2017, DESERVE took educated students on mental health at Institut Universitaire des Sciences et des Technologies et de l’Ethique (IUSTE). Supervised by Didier Demassosso, Board of Trustee member of DESERVE, in collaboration with experts from Healthcare Information For All (HIFA), R4D International which works on global health and evidenced informed health policy-making, the conference held under the theme: ‘Mental Health, Mental Illness and Depression.’
It started at 3 pm with an introduction from Didier Demassosso and the collaborators. The announcement of the plan followed suit.
The conference sought to gradually lay down the foundation of mental health literacy in schools and empower youths to be responsible for their health through acquisition of (mental) health literacy. In attendance were 41 students, 2 teachers and 2 health professionals.
This discussion to the students of Institute Universitaire des Sciences des Technologies et de l’Ethique (IUSTE) proved very valuable to evaluate their level of mental health literacy and their contribution to behaviour change with respect to mental health and mental illnesses. It was an opportunity to express the need for students to seek accurate (mental) healthcare information apart from practising mental hygiene to improve their mental health status and psychological wellbeing.
Several questions posed by students highlighted the idea that more work has to be done to promote mental health and to develop mechanisms and strategies to empower citizens to be responsible about their health through seeking (mental) healthcare information. Many of them had no idea of what depression is—how it is treated and who treats it. Therefore, talking about mental health and mental illnesses in schools might prove to be a crucial step for mental health promotion and reduction of mental illnesses in Cameroon. Yet, the future is bright! This is topical because Cameroon’s population is extremely young. An interest on the wellbeing and mental health of youths is thus crucial for development.
The institute looked forward to receiving team Deserve for another conference.
Board of Trustee Member, Deserve.