The current state of the world is impacting the mental health dilemma for people of color. Ndingumntu Nam wants to fix that.
Being a person of color is one thing, being a person of color and, is something else. Being black and a woman, being black and a member of the LGBTQ+ community and finally, being black and mentally ill – all of that is totally something else.
Mental illness in the black community has been viewed as “the white man’s sickness”, something that ceases to exist. This does not only strengthen the stigma surrounding mental health in African communities, but it reduces the chances of people seeking professional help. The absence of treatment has become a norm with the treatment gap – the proportion of people with mental illness who don’t get treatment being over 90% in South Africa, Ghana, Ethiopia and Nigeria. This means that less than 1 in 10 people living with mental health conditions receive the treatment and care that they need in ALL the countries mentioned above.
Will mental illness ever be perceived as a health-related problem and not a highly stigmatized condition that no one wants to have a conversation about? The answer to that is yes. My name is Patisanani Izibele Tokwana and I am the founder of Ndingumntu nam. Ndingumntu Nam is a project defined by its own name, it means “I am also human” in IsiXhosa. It seeks to redefine and acknowledge the presence of mental health illnesses in the African community, this is done through providing information to the public about where one can seek help and improve one’s mental health. This is a platform where one can share their experience and express themselves creatively. We believe that mental health ignorance is one of the leading causes of suicide in our community, raising mental health awareness increases the chances of people seeking professional help and educates people about the importance of keeping mentally healthy.
-Patisanani Izibele Tokwan, Ndingumntu Nam