The difference between people living in the 21st century and those who lived before the industrial revolution is that those living today have vast resources for everything. As much as we can agree that it is good to know, to a certain extent, knowing things removes the idea that people have individual paths to follow. This is why many are ridden with mental health illnesses. Pabatso Molati learnt the importance of following one’s path the hard way and it taught her numerous lessons about solitude.
Pabatso Molati is a 28-year-old Mosotho female who prefers being identified as a creative writer. Her love for writing is one of the reasons she developed love for mental health awareness issues because writing gives her a chance to reflect on who she really is.
She graduated from the National University of Lesotho where she obtained a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration. Residing in Ha Matala, Pabatso is also currently working as a secretary in a local Car Dealership based in Maseru.
Pabatso defines being mentally well as attaining psychological liberty, strength, power, solitude. She believes that mental wellness should be something one should never have to compromise at the expense of anything or anyone regardless of how important the external factors may seem.
Most importantly, mental wellness is about choosing oneself and becoming a priority. When the realization about the importance of mental health got to her, Pabatso became part of an NPO called Mental Health Matters where she learnt how to dwell in solitude while becoming an outlet of love for other people.
When she became part of the NPO, she began to realize that there are many who are victims of mental health disorders. Her heart went out to those with severe symptoms because she too had had her fair share of mental issues and she saw the opportunity to learn how to overcome.
In her own words, “To stand and claim that I have completely overcome would be a lie. So, for the stages of depression and anxiety which I have fortunately managed to outgrow thus far, I only saw it befitting to actively engage with an initiative which shares a similar sentiment to that of mine.”
Mental Health Matters is intentional about raising awareness on mental health illnesses. In Pabatso’s opinion, being aware of the mental problem one has is the very first step that could lead to finding a right solution to the problem. The NPO strives towards making it known that there is a spectrum of mental health topics, where one should first be identified as mentally affected before they are declared mentally ill.
The Mental Health Matters NPO is in the process of reaching out to the public through avenues such as running educational campaigns in highs schools in Maseru. With this, they have pipelined activities to educate people about mental health issues. From this, youngsters will be aware of mental disorders and will ultimately be equipped with tools of how to overcome such issues.
Now, the NPO uses their Facebook platform as a reliable tool through which they reach out to communities. They reach out to raise awareness about mental health and offer training on mental wellness that will require physical contact between them and their target group.
Pabatso also uses her creative writing to reach out to the community. She reports, “I could say my creative writing has been one reliable avenue I use to reach out to the young ones. It is through my writing that I feel drawn to the people who can relate or gain strength from my personal experiences which I share in my poetry.”
Being part of the NPO has helped her grow in ways she never thought she could. She reports that she has found solitude by accepting that she has a journey of her own and she now sees life as an adventure to help her become the best version of herself.
She highlights, “Being part of the MHM family has shown me that everyone can overcome their mental ailments in their own ways and at their own pace.”
She has learnt that life is not a competition and we all just need to give ourselves time to heal from the things that have been hanging loose in our minds from our past. This is something she had to learn through MHM.
The development journey with mental health has also been one that has given Pabatso hope. She has acquired a strength to keep on moving and it grows more when she realizes just how much encouraging others to pursue solitude influences them positively.
Regardless of the journey this young woman has had, she closes off by indicating that she wishes Lesotho would become more open-minded about mental health issues. She also urges people to stop making fun of those with mental health disorders since they did not choose their plight. This would imply that some traditional beliefs should be unlearned.
Her biggest hope is that in the near future, through the MHM projects, she and her organization can be a bridging gap between parents and children where they ignite awareness through educational training on mental health oriented subjects.