Give more attention to mental health, stakeholders urged

By Anyway Yotamu
HARARE – Local organisation, Summit Care Trust has noted with great concern, the inadequacy of mental health medical personnel in the country. They said this is the reason why the few existing mental institutions charge exhorbitant amounts of money which are beyond the reach of many Zimbabweans
Through an official statement to mark the Mental health week running from the
10th- 16th of May 2021, Summit Care Trust Mental Health Advocate and Officer, Tanatswa Chikaura said though it receives little attention, mental health is a complex issue which mainly weighs heavily upon families.
According to a “Doctors Without Borders” Article of 2017, Zimbabwe has 20 registered Clinical Psychologists and 9 mental health institutions. With a population that is over 14 million, it is suffice to say that the majority of the Zimbabwean citizens do not have access to mental health facilities.
Chikaura said another point of major 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.
The situation hasn’t been made easier by COVID-19 which has disrupted all aspects of life.
“This is a cause for concern and has been worsened by the menacing Covid-19 which has changed how people live, making the mental health needs a priority.
“In our calendar of events throughout the week, we 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 come and share their experiences on Mental Health,” Chikaura said.
In addition, Chikaura said the week’s events will also touch on the value of integrating mental health care into programs and policies.

Summit Care Trust Mental Health Advocate and Officer, Tanatswa Chikaura.
The community based organisation, has lined up a calendar of events aimed at bringing awareness about the effects and impact of Mental Health on families, corporate entities, civic society and communities.
Chikaura said Mental Health is prevalent in all sectors of societies and communities but often goes unattended to and worse still undetected yet the signs are right in front of us.
“The week-long event aims to raise awareness about Mental Health in our country and to play a pivotal role in getting the country’s key stakeholders, which are: government, media and community, to put their shoulder to the wheel in the fight to put Mental Health to the fore. Our research has shown that there is a yawning treatment gap for Mental Health in Zimbabwe and Africa,” said Chikaura.
“The event will bring together community organisations that are fighting to have Mental Health recognized 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 Chikaura.
Summit Care Trust 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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