BOUSSÉ – The “union association for health and well-being” in Burkina Faso marked World Mental Health Day on October 10, 2023, with a series of events in Boussé, highlighting the importance of mental health and the dangers of addictive substances among the youth.
According to Burkina Information Agency, the day’s events included a public conference and a radio broadcast aimed at opinion leaders in the commune of Boussé. These efforts underscored the significance of this year’s theme, “Mental health, a universal human right,” and particularly focused on the prevention of substance abuse among individuals aged 10 to 24—a demographic identified as being at significant risk for mental health issues due to addiction.
The association’s celebration featured discussions on the impact of psychoactive substances and the role community leaders can play in mitigating this issue. The outreach initiative aimed to engage administrative, political, and customary leaders in the battle against the consumption of drugs, which are seen as a growing danger to the youth of Burkina Faso.
Seydou Coulibaly, the president of the association, stressed the alarming prevalence of substance abuse among young people, with cannabis use being particularly high among high school and university students. The association cited observations of students frequently indulging in cigarettes, adulterated alcohol, and other harmful substances within the town’s establishments.
Highlighting the community’s role in addressing this crisis, Mr. Coulibaly called for collective action to shield young people from these dangers. Siméon Ilboudo, the president of the municipal youth council, advocated for more stringent regulations on the availability of addictive substances and the promotion of anti-addiction initiatives targeting youth behavior.
Mr. Ilboudo also recommended incorporating drug consumption countermeasures into municipal development plans. Siaka Barro, the high commissioner of Kourwéogo province, lauded the day’s events and encouraged the association to continue its awareness activities beyond the commemoration.
The day’s panel discussions, led by Raymond Yenfoni from the SP/CNLD, engaged students and parents on the consequences of drug use for individuals, families, and communities. These dialogues opened up avenues for understanding and combating the issue at hand.