Guest Contributor | Apr 21, 2017 | 0
NMC raises mental health flag
NMC Mental Wellness conference
Windhoek Golf Club
28 September 2016
Namibia Medical Care through its “I See U” campaign is raising awareness about the realities of mental health. Our aim is not only to improve the mental health of our members, but also raise awareness about the mental health needs of all people in the country.
Sadly, the lack of recognition of mental health needs is a national and global problem. Statistics from the Ministry of Health and Social Services show that 8527 patients were treated for mental illnesses at various health facilities countrywide in 2015, compared to 9257 the previous year.
Results from the 2013 Global School-based Health Survey, which in Namibia involved over 4500 learners in Grades 7-12, also showed that one in five learners considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months.
Globally, suicide was the second leading cause of death amongst persons aged 15 to 29 in 2012.
There is a saying that there is no health without mental health. And yet, all too often mental health needs are under-recognised and under-treated, with many people reluctant to speak out about mental health challenges.
The stigma associated with mental health can make people feel that they are not “trying” hard enough to deal with daily life challenges or even lead to accusations of witchcraft.
However, a mental health condition is as valid a healthcare problem as a broken arm or a fever. Whilst you cannot always see the impact of a mental health condition in the same way that you can see a broken arm or measure the temperature of a fever, a mental health condition has just as much validity as a physical healthcare problem.
Mental illness is thought to be caused by a variety of genetic and environmental factors. For example, mental illness is more common in people whose blood relatives also have a mental illness as certain genes may increase the risk of developing mental illness.
Exposure to environmental stressors, inflammatory conditions, toxins, alcohol or drugs while in the womb is also linked to mental illness.
Whether it is autism, schizophrenia, postnatal depression, anxiety disorder or another mental health condition, at NMC we know that mental health is a vital part of overall health.
Our role is to support our members to access the healthcare services they need. This may be through medication, therapy or any other intervention. What is crucial is that we are able to support our members to recognise the healthcare needs they have.
There is another saying – a healthy body means a healthy mind, but at NMC we also believe that a healthy mind means a healthy body.
Our role is to back up the lives of our members and in 2016 our aim is to highlight the importance of the mental health of our members as well as their physical health.
We will also host an event on the 28th of September 2016 at the Windhoek Golf Club the aim is to shed more light on mental wellness. Health professionals in various disciplines will lead discussions on working, living and growing up with depression. There will also be a number of wellness exhibitions to help with practical and alternative approaches to dealing with and overcoming mental wellness.
Tickets for the presentations and health professionals will be N$100 for the morning session, N$50 for the afternoon session, or N$130 for the full day while the exhibitors’ fee would be N$250. Tickets are available online at www.eventstoday.com.na or at the Biltong Shop in Maerua Mall, and at the Warehouse Theatre in Tal Street. All the proceeds will go to the Autism Association of Namibia.
Let’s support this cause and encourage mental wellness at home, in our schools and work places. Ultimately, we need to see ourselves, and each other, in the NMC I See U campaign.