By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
ZAMBIA is among African countries participating in this year’s international forum meant to promote investment in psychosocial support while stimulating the mental health and well-being of children and youth. The virtual sixth regional psychosocial support forum which will take place in October from 13th to 15th is also meant to create awareness and understanding the importance of mental health for children and youth, especially during the Covid-19 period.
This will jointly be held between the Government of Mozambique and the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI). Participants at the forum will share innovative practice and latest research data that impact on the provision of psychosocial support and mental health to girls, boys and youth, says REPSSI Zambia Country Director, Kelvin Ngoma.
“This forum is happening in the context of Covid-19, which has caused an unparalleled public health crisis not seen in recent history. “As the pandemic continues to affect social economic development, claim lives, cause fear and the isolation, the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of individuals is adverted affected,” Mr Ngoma said recently at a press briefing.
Mr Ngoma said much as the forum would be held virtually, participating countries would have physical engagements with the children. He explained Zambia for instance would work with 50 selected children at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre.
“The forum programme will include a rich spectrum of presentations from leading PSS researchers and practitioners including plenary sessions,” he stated. Mr Ngoma emphasised the need for stakeholders to invest in psychosocial support interventions to promote the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of children and youth. Meanwhile, Mr Ngoma urged the Zambian President-elect to prioritise children welfare. He recalled that the new Government did not mention how they would support children in their manifesto during the campaign period.