END OUR MENTAL ILLNESS SHAME!

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END OUR MENTAL ILLNESS SHAME!

BANTU Zotwana wrote a book about schizophrenia after being diagnosed with it 20 years ago.The serious psychiatric illness is the result of a combination of genetic, chemical, developmental and environmental factors.On Tuesday, Bantu (31) from Khayelitsha visited Mandela High School in Crossroads, where he spoke to the pupils about the illness, as well as the dangers of drugs.“I was using drugs, but was lucky to have a family who did not give up on me and made sure I received all the help I needed,” he said.“There is this shame in our communities that mental illness is a form of sickness from witchcraft and isolates people from society, which needs to end. “I see people in trains in rags, being ill-treated and it pains me because it could have been me,” Bantu said.He warned pupils that drug use among the youth is now the leading cause of mental illness. Andisiwe Mvelaphi (16) said her brother was using drugs but then stopped. “The book will help me better understand him because we thought it was punishment for terrorising people,” she said.Bantu says he would keep going to schools and talking to the youth. “I know two or more will be saved by what I share.”

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