Gender Gender

Reaction: Let’s honour parents

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Children’s Corner with PANIC CHILUFYA
DEAR Mrs Chilufya,
I found your previous column very touching. You indicated that it does not matter at what age a person is but the loss of a parent is always devastating. And I can attest to that feeling because I recently lost my father after an illness.
Although I am married and have a family of my own, the death of my father hit me badly. Initially, I thought after the funeral I would get back to normal but I have found it difficult to do that.
Very often, I have had to stop myself from calling my father’s mobile number because we used to call each other almost every day to check on each other or to discuss various issues, including family matters.
The death of my father has left a void in my life which will be very difficult to fill. I cannot explain why I am feeling like this because I was no longer dependent on him; he is the one who was dependent on me and my siblings to take care of him.
The only consolation is that I had an opportunity to spend as much time as I could with him and he got to meet his grandchildren.
According to Psychology Today, there is a link between grief, addiction and mental illness. Studies show that the loss of a parent can lead to increased risks for long-term emotional and mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse especially if a person does not receive enough support during a bereavement or stable and consistent surrogate parenting for much younger children.
Losing a parent in childhood significantly raises the risk of developing mental health issues, especially that one in 20 children aged 15 years or less have suffered the loss of one or both parents. Survey data on the long-term effects of parental loss indicate that this can impact both mental and physical health, with men being more likely to report physical health issues.
Data also shows that gender influences the impact of parental death – men who lose their father appear to experience the loss more keenly than daughters, while women who lose their mother appear to be more deeply impacted than sons.
Remember, children are our future. Until next week, take care.
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