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Mothers battling mental health problems urged to seek help before its too late

todayMarch 5, 2024 75 1

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The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund is urging women who are battling mental health challenges to reach out for help before it’s too late.

The organisation has expressed concern over maternal violence that has rocked the country in recent times.

In one of the tragic incidents that had South Africans devastated, an Eastern Cape woman killed her three children and then hanged herself.

She was apparently found by a debt collector who had went to her house looking for repayment of a loan Bongeka Buso (38) had taken.

Emphasising the urgent need for increased awareness and effective action, the organisation says there is a potential link between maternal mental health and filicidal acts.

“The various factors such as unemployment, lack of support systems, societal prejudice/stigma, mental health issues, domestic violence, and substance abuse contribute to mothers killing their children,” says the CEO of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Dr. Linda Ncube-Nkomo.

Researcher and psychological expert, Dr Gadija Khan, says desperation usually drives women to kill their children, in an attempt to save them from further suffering.

“We see parents battling to provide the basic need for the children and then end up feeling hopeless about their children’s future and filicide is the distorted idea that “I am saving my child from suffering later on,” Dr Khan says.

“It is a merciful act for them to kill their children to stop them from having a trajectory which is something parents would want for them,” she adds.

According to NMCF, a multifaceted approach is needed to address and prevent the scourge.

Dr. Ncube-Nkomo says each member of a societal support system contributes significantly to the pregnant woman or girl’s health and wellbeing.

“Together, we can establish a supportive and nurturing atmosphere that helps all parties involved have a happy and healthy pregnancy and postpartum experience,” she adds.

She’s urged women to take advantage of the NGO and government-sponsored programmes and support services available to them to address mental health issues and prevent maternal filicide.

The organisation has also partnered with primary and secondary caregivers to provide preventative and responsive interventions in schools and communities. Written by Tshenolo Khaile

Written by: Lindiwe Mabena

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