BY CHRIS ALEX
THE majority of the Solomon Islands population is comprised of youths and it’s significant to take note that the mental health conditions of this young generation must be productive to contribute to the development of the country.
Today marks a very important day for mental health advocacy in Honiara, and the government, national stakeholders, and its key development partners have organized a one-day ‘Youth Symposium on Mental Issues’ with its main theme ‘Youth Metal Health Matters’.
The interactive dialogue event also coincided with the Honiara Youth Week program which aimed to foster understanding and collaboration between young individuals and those in positions of influence.
The event which was held at the Multipurpose Hall in China Town attracted the participation of government, youth, community and health leaders, and school students and consists of various sessions and activities that provides young people with the necessary knowledge and skills to promote and maintain their mental health and wellbeing.
Dr. Paul Orotaloa, a renowned mental health expert and Psychiatrist, emphasized the significance of the event and the critical importance of addressing mental health concerns among young people in the country.
In a captivating presentation, Dr. Paul offered his valuable insights into how youths can maintain a healthy mental well-being. He emphasized the importance of seeking help and support when facing mental health challenges and encouraged the youths to reach out for assistance when needed.
Likewise, the overarching objective of the event is primarily to raise awareness about mental health issues among young people, equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to prioritize their mental well-being and encourage them to seek help and support when facing mental health challenges.
Furthermore, the event aimed to advocate for more inclusive and accountable national and local government policies, processes, and systems that prioritize the well-being of children and youth. The symposium also featured an open dialogue between the youths and responsible authorities, creating a platform for open and honest discussions about the challenges young people face regarding mental health issues.
The final session of the event featured an art therapy session led by youth counsellors Sharon Totorea and Terry Waua. This interactive activity aimed to provide a creative outlet for participants to express their emotions and feelings, promoting healing and resilience among the youth.
The Honiara Youth Week event proved to be a resounding success, with young participants leaving with a deeper understanding of mental health and equipped with valuable tools to support their well-being. By focusing on the mental health of its youth, Honiara has taken a proactive step toward building a healthier and more resilient community for future generations.