Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Continued stigma and discrimination against mental health patients worrying

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Government says continued stigma and discrimination associated with mental health remain a key barrier to social-economic inclusion and access to quality mental health services.

The State is of the view that majority of people struggle with treatable and preventable mental health problems silently at home due to lack of awareness about the professional services offered.

Northern Province Permanent Secretary Bernard Mpundu who said this in Kasama on Saturday has since called for a strengthened network and field of care by supporting all community-based mental health activities.

Mr. Mpundu stressed the need for the adoption of more inclusive approaches in health service programming to ensure that the mental health needs of clients are met.

“Majority of people who struggle with treatable and preventable mental health problems suffer silently at home due to lack of awareness about the professional services offered, “he said.

In a speech read on his behalf by Provincial Assistant Secretary Jordan Mwenya during the rescheduled commemoration of world mental health day in Kasama ,Mr. Mpundu reiterated government commitment to supporting and prioritizing mental health in national programming.

Mr. Mpundu said the commemoration of mental health day held under the theme: “ ‘Make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority” is an indication of the commitment the government has given to the fight of mental health across all sectors.

“Statistics show that mental health and suicide cases have increased in recent years, hence this calls for concerted efforts by all of us to develop interventions aimed at addressing mental health problems.

Provincial Health Director Ernest Mutale said the day awakens everyone to the realization that a holistic approach should be taken when talking about health to avoid excluding others.

Dr. Mutale said world mental health day provides mental health workers with a chance to discuss their work and review what needs to be done to make mental health a reality for people in the Country.

“Assembling here today in this manner is a symbol that we all realize that mental health and all its challenges affect us all and cuts across all sections of life, ” he said.

He has appealed to all stakeholders to unite and make mental health a priority at individual, family, community, provincial level and national level.

Meanwhile Kasama General Hospital Medical Superintendent Humphrey Chanda has called for more efforts to raise mental awareness.

Dr. Chanda thanked government for the interventions but explained that more still needs to be done to develop infrastructure and assign more medical personnel for mental health to the province.

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