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Press Release – 26 June International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

26 June is International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, and this year the theme selected by the United Nations is 'Listen First'. Listen First is an initiative highlighting how listening to children and youth is the first step to helping them grow up healthy and safe, reducing risky behaviours and drug use.  More information about the Listen First campaign can be found at https://www.unodc.org/listenfirst/

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) World Drug Report 2016 shows a rise in the number of problem drug users from 27 to 29 million people aged 15-64, showing that drug abuse continues to be a growing problem worldwide. Children and adolescents who use drugs are often affected by vulnerabilities beyond their control such as poverty and exposure to violence, growing up in homes with a history of substance abuse, and peer pressure. High unemployment, poverty and violent crime rates in South Africa mean that our youth are especially at risk of drug abuse, which could have long lasting negative effects on their mental and physical wellbeing. The earlier children start to experiment with drugs, the more likely they are to develop drug dependence later in life.

SAFMH would like to encourage parents, caregivers, educators and government to make the mental and physical wellbeing of all children and youth in South Africa a priority, and to provide young people with safe and supportive environments that can help them make informed decisions about drug use. 

 

Inquiries/information:

Marthé Viljoen

SAFMH Programme Manager Information & Awareness

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World Bipolar Day is celebrated annually on the 30th of March, and this year the theme selected by the International Bipolar Foundation is “More Than a Diagnosis.” The aim of this theme is to show that individuals who live with bipolar disorder are more than their bipolar diagnosis; they are capable of living full, successful lives, despite and in spite of their diagnosis.

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21 March is commemorated as World Down Syndrome Day. For 2016 Down Syndrome International and Down Syndrome South Africa have chosen to focus on: “My Friends, My Community” - The benefits of inclusive environments for today's children and tomorrow's adults.

 

PRESS RELEASE : CONCERN OVER THE VIOLATION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF LIFE ESIDIMENI RESIDENTS

DATE: 16 MARCH 2016

As South Africa celebrates Human Right’s Day on the 21st of March, The South African Federation for Mental Health would like to draw attention to the ongoing Life Esidimeni case. The manner in which the termination of the Life Esidimeni contract has been managed by the Gauteng Department of Health has raised concerns regarding whether the human rights of the residents of the Life Esidimeni facilities are being protected.

DATE: 9 MARCH 2016 (Intellectual Disability Awareness Month) 

CHILDREN WITH SEVERE AND PROFOUND INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES NEED TO BE PRIORITISED BY GOVERNMENT

Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, quoted in an article published by News24 (More Gauteng schools to be built – MEC. 2016-03-08), stated that more schools will be built in Gauteng with the R39bn budget that Finance MEC Barbara Creecy allocated to the province's education department. In the article MEC Lesufi also states that the special school sector will be receiving R6.39bn. 

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