Following a recent spike in suicide cases among young people which are a result of failed love relationships, parents have been urged to discuss relationships and sex with their children in order to curb suicides.
Speaking to B-Metro in a telephone interview, SayWhat communications officer Costa Nkomo said it was high time parents opened conversations about sexual and reproductive issues.
“The suicide cases we are witnessing, which are a result of failed love relationships among teenagers can be prevented if parents and guardians open up conversations with their children on sexual and reproductive health and mental health. It should not be a taboo for a father and a son to talk about sex-related issues. This should be the same with the mother and daughter. The culture of opening up must be promoted at family level. Parents and guardians should know who their children are dating. This will give both partners assistance on how to run these relationships and even for both the young people involved in the relationship to realise that family is more important than outside relationships,” said Nkomo.
Additionally, Nkomo said mental health and sexual and reproductive health must be introduced in the education system on compulsory basis from primary level until the completion of a university programme.
“This will help us as a country to understand mental health better and definitely understand what works to arrest the scourge,” he said.
Recently, SAYWHAT introduced programmes offering space to young persons to air their views on issues which affect their day to day lives.
“We have introduced online television programmes, which are The Pill and The Bridge for purposes of offering space to young people to have conversations on issues that affect their mental health and sexual and reproductive health. The Pill is a SAYWHAT studio-based programme where students, young people and the youth are invited either on one on one basis to open and discuss mental health and sexual and reproductive health related issues. The Bridge is also a SAYWHAT new programme that offers space to young people and the youth to talk about mental health and sexual and reproductive health issues at informal spaces. This is more of a reality show as the conversation is captured naturally as it unfolds. The idea is to allow young people to relay issues as they are in their daily lives. This gives us an opportunity as an organisation to identify areas of intervention. This also helps us to map our advocacy work in terms of constructing a priority list,” said Nkomo.
Meanwhile, Nkomo said during this month of September, SAYWHAT has attended to nearly 1 000 of queries by young people on matters that involve sexual and reproductive health and mental health problems through their call cetre.