Mental Health and the Family Social Support Networks

Mental Health: Wellbeing and Happiness Series with MoNya-Mental By Mertha Mo Nyamande The family as an institution forms the basis of all our structures and support networks as social and emotional beings. We are born into families that extend and maintain certain links for the continuity of our livelihoods, physical and mental health. Mum and dad will have their own parents and siblings that form part of our cultures and how we are supported growing up. Parents are not always available, and therefore, siblings, aunts, uncles, neighbours, trusted and established social spaces that we frequent regularly play a vital role in providing guidance that extend nurturing. In the concept of schema formulation, mum provides certain attributes, equally important but different to what dad provides before a child enters external socialisation. These are essential for our growth and development, and help shape our core personas, but without the extended support of family members and other associations, statutory services type interventions will become necessary though not ideal, as no parent is dispensable to every child’s upbringing. When we are born, certain family dynamics already exist that can strengthen or break our attachments. These dynamics are often avoided or misunderstood, thereby enforced by

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