Guest speaking is a service I offer to the community to bring awareness and stimulate thinking about contemporary issues facing society today. Informal or formal discussions in the context of mental health and mental health awareness at social or academic discussions, is a medium that can be used not only to expand knowledge but also to interact with communities. Mental health is a very broad term and include many contemporary social issues that affect mental well-being.
Recently, I was invited as a guest speaker at an event held by the Deputy Director General in the Presidency, Ministry on Women, as part of the 16 days of activism against women and child abuse.
The topic was under discussion was gender based violence and the psychological impacts hereof. This very relevant topic, is a societal concern and impacts health services greatly (not only medically but also in terms of social services). By empowering families and friends as well as survivors of gender based violence (and all other forms of abuse) with knowledge, assists in coping and healing.
Apart from violence, sexual crimes and domestic abuse, cyber bullying is also another issue that people, youngsters and adults, face today. Technology in our ever changing environment is both benevolent and malicious (if used as a means to exploit others). Children today, especially teenagers, often fall victim to the devastating impact of the misuse of the internet and parents are often not knowledgeable to assist or only realize the consequences when too late.
A further consequence of the malicious impact of technology, is that physical social interactions are degrading. Very often social media portfolios is a portrayal of an idealistic image of oneself. We get emotionally affected by the number of followers and likes we have and demand responses from emails and social media messaging instantly. Even the dating platform has changed – meeting partners online and connecting through the cyber universe. No wonder more and more people struggle with emotional intimacy, genuine face to face conversation and attention deficits.
Another topic that I also find a contemporary challenge in society today, is number of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder, Conduct Disorder and the alarming amount of adults diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and Depression.
I am of the belief that we are not only affected by our genetic make-up but also our environment. Our diet, living environment and the amount of pollution we are expose to effects our moods and neurological functioning.
These topics highlighted here, are but a few actual discussion points. It is my belief that as guest speaker, one has the opportunity to share knowledge and experience which can be further shared and discussed amongst others.
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