High-risk sexual practice (HRSP) is on the increase among secondary school students. In the same way, a research in 2020 revealed that 17.6% of secondary school-going children were identified with probable mental disorders, an increase from 12.6% in 2017. What is clear in these figures is that sexual, reproductive, and mental health are relevant conversations that need to be had in secondary school classrooms. More importantly, accurate information about these topics should be taught.
MyPaddi, with the help of doctors, social workers, counsellors, and more than 50 volunteers, took this multi-health conversation to the students of Aduwawa Secondary School.
First, the students were called to a general assembly, where accurate, bais-free sexual and reproductive health education was taught by Melody Eghelen, the Project Manager of myPaddi’s Adolescent Reproductive & Mental Health Awareness Project for Secondary Schools.
The conversation with the mixed assembly started with Proper Menstrual Hygiene, and it highlighted how menstruation is a natural phenomenon in women and not something to be embarrassed by. The boys were encouraged not to shy away from the topic as well or in the terms of the speaker, “close their ears” as the information could come in handy in the interpersonal relations with the women in their lives.
Furthermore, the students were then shared into groups and ushered into classrooms where they were sensitized about mental health by counsellors. The conversation touched on a number of mental health topics including mental illnesses and stress. While most of the students’ understanding was limited to psychosis before our visit, our visit illuminated things and offered them a more nuance In the end, it was a successful outing, one that we will be talking about for a long time.
How do you think conversations about sexual, reproductive, and mental health can be better had?