Flying the kite for mental health

Zariqee Hendricks, 5, from Beacon Valley flies his kite.

Liberty Promenade hosted a community kite flying event on Thursday October 24 and a kite decorating competition on Saturday October 19 in the lead-up to the annual International Kite Festival in support of Cape Mental Health. October is also Mental Health Awareness Month.

International and local kite experts, in honour of the Cape Town International Kite Festival, held at Zandvlei in Muizenberg this past weekend, visited the community fly on Thursday after touring Cape Mental Health’s Training Workshops Unlimited.

Little Zariqee Hendricks, 5, from Beacon Valley saw the kites in the air and asked his aunt to go see them. His aunt Shaheema Hendricks, 27, from Beacon Valley said it was a nice event for parents and their children to bond and fly kites together.

Sophia Geswind, 70, from Eastridge who is caregiver to one-year-old Eli Erasmus, from Eastridge visited the community event after reading about it in the Plainsman 9 (“Let hope fly at kite festival”, Plainsman, October 23).

She said it was a good way to get children out of the house, away from their phones and TV screens, and fun for the family, she said.

“Raising awareness for mental health and mental illness has remained an important initiative. Creativity and self-expression encourage a healthy mind and boost self-confidence in children. Mental health is something to be considered from a young age and we need to do everything we can to ensure our youth are stimulated in positive ways,” said Brenda Bibby, general manager at Liberty Promenade.

October’s Mental Health Awareness campaign focused on suicide awareness and prevention. “Our kite festival theme ‘Let Hope Fly’ is intended to encourage everyone, especially those personally affected by depression or suicide,” said Dr Ingrid Daniels, director of Cape Mental Health and president-elect of the World Federation for Mental Health.

“Just as kiters use a line to hold onto their kites, hope can be a line to life. Sometimes you may find hope inside yourself; at other times it may need to come from a friend, a loved one or a professional. The important thing is to hold on and not let go,” she said.