Experts urge “troubled” learners to seek professional help

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Mental health experts and faith-based organisations have encouraged people to seek help following what they describe as a growing trend of unusual behaviour among learners at many schools across the country.

The Basic Education Department has in the meantime commissioned a survey to probe strange behaviour that some learners are displaying.

It says more than 3 000 schools in the country have reported unusual behaviour among learners.

The latest such incident was reported in Soshanguve north of Pretoria when 90 primary school learners were hospitalised after eating what’s being dubbed ‘space cookies’.

Clinical psychologist Doctor Tumi Mashego, “I think as society we owe it to our children and generation to come to normalise and reduce the stigma around mental health and odd behaviour. But as the elders of society, we need to be comfortable with seeking and understanding that the children of today are not what we were before. They question and are frustrated by things and also have more risk for suicide. So, we need to be sure that we normalise mental health. And that some people seek intervention.”