Teens have safe space to talk about sex

Parents discuss how they can speak to their children about teenage pregnancy.

Schools from in and around Mitchell’s Plain visited the Mitchell’s Plain Health Centre in Eastridge, where they discussed teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, relationships and mental health.

The adolescent and youth clinic was launched last year to combat teenage pregnancy.

“We don’t only want them to come to the clinic for services and advice, we want them to feel free. The experts here will guide them on what to do,” said Mary-Ann Jonkerman, social worker at the Mitchell’s Plain Health Centre.

“The pupils that came here today are talking about substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, relationships and mental health issues. Parents also showed up today. They too were equipped and empowered at the event and engaged on the topics the pupils spoke about,” said Ms Jonkerman.

Gakeemudeen Jacobs, 16, from Eastridge, who attends Glendale High School in Rocklands said: “I am a youth health ambassador for the University of Cape Town (UCT) Lung Institute, so coming to this event today was very important to me.

“This event was very helpful for youth, today, talking about teenage pregnancy, suicide and bullying. This event was really fun for me and my peers.”

Octavia Jacobs, 16, from Beacon Valley, who attends Spine Road High School in Rocklands, said: “This event is very helpful for the youth, but not many of them know about the youth services at the clinic. I will invite others to attend this event. It will help them to be aware of the issues the youth of today face.”

Levina Louw, 55, from Woodlands, a parent who attended the event, said: “This event is very informative.

“The youth need to be exposed to more of these events in the community and in their place of academia.

“The event should not just focus on teenage pregnancy but on depression, especially matriculants in this stressful time of year, and their chore schedule. There is so much they need to do as young people.

“They need support in all aspects of their lives.

“There are many other things they struggle with as well, such as broken homes, being homeless. More social workers should also help at schools. If they are in the young people’s environment they might open up more.”