The SA federation for Mental Health, its Mental Health socities and Member Organisations will be raising awareness about youth and intellectual disability in March.
The March awareness programme aims to be a preventative, educational programme focussing on youth and intellectual disability. Preventative in the sense that it a) informs young people, who are the parents of tomorrow, how to safeguard themselves (where possible) through lifestyle choices such as avoiding drugs and alcohol, and b) stimulates discussions with young people around the nature of intellectual disability, thus also addressing the issues of stigma and discrimination and hopefully contributing towards the prevention thereof amongst young people. The key message is that persons with Intellectual Disability deserve to be treated with the same amount of respect as anyone else.
The objectives of the programme are to target high school youth (who are the future generation) and equip them with basic intellectual disability information, whilst sensitising them to issues of stigma and discrimination surrounding intellectual disability and informing them about lifestyle choices relating to the prevention of intellectual disability. The programme also highlights that people with intellectual disability are able to lead fulfilling lives.
March's awareness programme envisions using the youth as catalysts of change, whereby the youth are able to pass this information onto their fellow peers, family members and the community at large, and whilst informing them about the nature of intellectual disability, its causes etc etc we are also aiming to build a more tolerant society through education and discussions on stigma and discrimination. We encourage outreach programmes to engage with youth groups as well as support groups for young parents or pregnant mothers, schools and hospitals or clinics where woman pregnant woman may be present.