Zim commemorates mental health week

Herald Reporter

Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating mental health week from today up to Saturday, amid calls to intensify the fight against the problem.

A community based organisation, Summit Care Trust (SCT), has lined up a number of events aimed at bringing awareness about the effects and impact of Mental Health on families, corporate entities, civic society and communities.

SCT mental health advocate and officer, Ms Tanatswa Chikaura said mental health is prevalent in all sectors of society but often goes unattended to, and worse still undetected yet the signs are there for all to see.

She said the week-long event aims to raise awareness about mental health in the country and to play a pivotal role in getting the country’s key stakeholders such as the Government, community and media, to put strengthen the fight against mental health.

“Our research has shown that there is a yawning treatment gap for mental health in Zimbabwe and Africa,” said Ms Chikaura.

She said in 2017, a Doctors Without Borders article said Zimbabwe has 20 registered clinical psychologists and nine mental health institutions. 

With a population that is over 14 million, it means the majority of citizens do not have access to mental health facilities.

Ms Chikaura said another point of concern is that the majority of Zimbabweans cannot afford mental help therapy and in some instances the institutions that offer therapy are not accessible to the ordinary people.

She added that a part of the week’s events, they will be broadcasting a discussion about the stakeholders’ roles in mental health conversations. “The commemorations will also highlight how mental well-being affects livelihoods, human rights, governance and advocacy and sexual and reproductive health rights. We have lined up psychologists, lawyers, media personnel, teachers, medical doctors, parents and young people and adolescents to came and share their experiences on mental health.”

“The event will bring together community organisations that are fighting to have mental health recognised in our country, inspiring a united vision of a person’s right to dignity and right to care. 

“It will also bring to the fore personal experiences of mental health challenges with individuals openly sharing their experiences and in the end acquire information on how best they can be assisted for sustainable solutions,” said Ms Chikaura.

SCT has four thematic areas which are adolescent, youth sexual and reproductive health rights (ASRHR), livelihoods, human rights and governance and advocacy.

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