South Africa


Mental Health Awareness Month celebrated with Manenberg kite spectacle

Mental Health Awareness Month celebrated with Manenberg kite spectacle
Rainbow coloured kites were handed out at Cape Mental Health’s event in Manenberg on Wednesday. Instead of its annual kite festival, the organisation hosting mini kite festivals in different communities to mark Mental Health Awareness Month in October. (Photo: Ashraf Hendricks)

Hundreds of children, parents and caregivers enjoyed Wednesday’s event.

Brightly coloured kites of rainbows, birds and sea life briskly flew in the sky above the Heideveld Sports Field in Manenberg, Cape Town as hundreds of children, parents and caregivers participated in Cape Mental Health’s kite festival.

Founded in 1913, Cape Mental Health provides essential mental health services. The theme for this year’s event is #FlyYourDreams. To mark Mental Health Awareness Month, the organisation is hosting different events in communities across the Western Cape throughout October. The events raise awareness about mental health and aim to reduce stigma associated with intellectual disability. The organisation said their events will focus on the mental health and well-being of children, especially those in poorly resourced communities.

Many of the children attending the event on Wednesday are from Cape Mental Health’s facilities in Heideveld, Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha, as well as from early childhood development (ECD) centres in Heideveld.

Kite flying for Mental Health Awareness Month

Bobby Gathoo shows off the kite he designed to look like a swallow. (Photo: Ashraf Hendricks)

Resident Tasneem Jacobs, who was helping her four-year-old daughter fly a rainbow kite, said they were walking to the shop when she noticed the colourful kites in the sky. “I recognised the kites because I have attended the organisation’s kite festival before … I don’t think there is enough awareness about mental health because people still don’t take it seriously in our communities,” she said.

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“People with mental health conditions get discharged quickly from public facilities without getting proper treatment, or they end up discharging themselves,” said Jacobs.

Cape Mental Health’s Barbara Meyer said they wanted to bring awareness and access to people in communities where their free services are needed the most. “We offer support services and awareness for persons with intellectual disabilities and people with psychosocial disorders. That would be people with depression, bipolar, schizophrenia,” said Meyer.

Manenberg resident Tasneem Jacobs

Manenberg resident Tasneem Jacobs helps her four-year-old daughter, Almaaz Colbie fly a small kite she got at the event. (Photo: Ashraf Hendricks)

According to the organisation’s donor development manager Sandra Ellis, Cape Mental Health is subsidised by the state but they needed other income to be sustainable. “So we rent out premises, we make products that we trade and sell, like woodwork and cement products, catering. We also host events like the kite festival. We welcome donations as well.”

When asked why kites, Ellis said, “We haven’t found anything else that provides such a good springboard for talking about mental health, as a kite. With kites, you have to look up. It elevates you and there’s a fun element. It brings out the child in all of us.

“And whether it’s a homemade kite or store-bought, it’s accessible to everybody. A kite is a backdrop for us to talk to people about the services we offer at Cape Mental Health,” said Ellis. DM

Kite flying for Mntal Health Awareness Month

A dog trots past kite flyers in Manenberg. (Photo: Ashraf Hendricks)

First published by GroundUp.


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