Home Health Don’t discriminate the mentally ill – Sen Mavhima

Don’t discriminate the mentally ill – Sen Mavhima

by commuadmin

CommuTalk Reporter

GWERU – The public has been urged to desist from stigmatising and discriminating against people who are mentally ill as it drives them onto the streets, a senior government official has said.

Speaking during a meeting for stakeholders convened by the Queen of Peace Institute for Community Mental Health Innovations and Rehabilitation, a local Non-Governmental Organisation that deals with mental health issues, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Senator Larry Mavima said bad attitude towards people with mental health worsens their plight.

“Misconceptions about mental illness fuel stigma and discrimination which in turn drive people with mental illness onto the streets.

“The resultant struggle against the symptoms of mental illness, social exclusion, and the harsh realities of street life, present numerous health challenges which predispose mentally ill people living on the streets to premature death,” he said.

Sen Mavima also said mental health needs to be addressed once and for all as people tend to shun people with mental health but are gladly willing to assist people with other illnesses like hypertension and high blood pressure.

He also noted that health institutions and family members were complicit in the stigmatisation and discrimination of people with mental illness.

He however further noted that the Government has put in place mechanisms for the protection, treatment, rehabilitation, and care of people experiencing a mental illness including those living on the streets through collaborative efforts.

“The Mental Health Strategy, Mental Health Act, and the Mental Health Policy uphold the rights of persons with mental illness through protection from discrimination and access to appropriate treatment, rehabilitation, and care services.

“However, we have also witnessed massive campaigns by various Government players and other development partners on drug and substance abuse as some people with mental illness are as a result of drug and substance abuse,” he added.

The institution currently has 61 people at its Harben Park Rehabilitation and Crisis Centre comprising 35 females and 26 males.

Sen Mavima said it was against this background that the Queen of Peace Institute for Community Mental Health Innovations and Rehabilitation would like to collaborate with partners to support the Ministry of Health and Child Care’s mandate and initiative to restore mental well-being to people on the streets of Gweru, Kwekwe and beyond.

Queen of Peace chairperson Senator Anna Shiri said there was a need to restore dignity and respect to people with mental illness by assisting them so as to achieve inclusive development.

She said there was a worrying increase of women with mental illness on the streets who need psychological care, treatment, and reintegration.

The meeting formed a task force comprising various members who seek to strengthen comprehensive physical and psychological care and treatment for people with mental illness in the province.

The task force is expected to plan a roundup of people with mental health in Gweru in March aimed at restoring their mental well-being and fostering meaningful existence.

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