IOM Holds Art Exhibition to Mark World Mental Health Day in South Sudan

Juba – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) held an art exhibition to mark the World Mental Health Day, the theme of which this year is “Suicide Prevention”.

Under the guidance of Wafa’a Housseini Onyalla, Dean of the Department of Fine Arts and Industrial Design of the University of Juba, six South Sudanese artists were invited to work on the topic of “wellbeing”, with their work showcased at the IOM offices in Juba yesterday.

The promotion of mental and physical wellbeing is one way of preventing symptoms like suicidal ideation and hopelessness, which are often linked to depression.

The arts can be used as a way of expressing feelings of despair or processing traumatic experiences, and the creative process can also be a source of inspiration and healing.

“In South Sudan, the topic of suicide, especially among those 15 – 35 years old, is highly relevant, as people continue to live in confined settings, lacking security and opportunities to support their families financially” said Heide Rieder, IOM South Sudan’s Head of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) programme. “The majority of the population has been exposed to recurrent acts of violence and multiple displacements, which continues to impact upon them”, Rieder added.

The mental health care system in South Sudan is weak and, as a result of the lack of sufficient MHPSS specialists, people have to rely on each other for mutual support.

“The role of the community is crucial in linking ties between existing resources at the individual and community level and supporting people who are suffering from mental health conditions”, Rieder said.

IOM South Sudan’s MHPSS programmes apply a community-based approach to address mental health problems, and are implemented in various locations across the country, including Wau, Malakal and Bentiu.

In addition to the provision of focused non-specialized MHPSS services, such as counselling and peer support, a variety of creative, ritual and social activities are run by the teams to promote wellbeing, with 35,000 individuals reached on a monthly basis.

Ahead of World Mental Health Day, the IOM MHPSS team in Bentiu developed a campaign to promote wellbeing among different communities, in collaboration with other UN agencies and humanitarian actors.

The messages and images developed by the community of internally displaced persons and humanitarian stakeholders will be spread to mark World Mental Health Day.

Click on the here to access IOM Manual for Community-based MHPSS in Emergencies and Displacement.

For more information, kindly contact, Nabie Loyce at IOM South Sudan. Tell: +211912380115, Email:


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