Does the noise in my head bother you?
By 2020 mental disorders are projected to count for 15% of all illness across the globe, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Petronella Masabane said earlier this week at the preview of the new Bel Esprit Mental Health Clinic in Windhoek.
The mental clinic operates in association with Vista Private Clinic in South Africa and Avacare Global.
In Namibia, the demand for treatment is roughly double what the existing infrastructure can accommodate. “It is clear that the current capacity is not responsive to the needs, with many patients travelling several hundreds of kilometres to reach a service point” said Masabane.
Chief Executive of the new institution, Charine Glen-Spyron said “wellness is a state of mind.
If we are not in a good state of mind or as we call it – a good mental health state, we struggle to function in relationships and at the work place, we struggle to realize our goals, we move away from our values and beliefs and the walls around us collapse.”
Briefly describing the facility’s approach to mental care, she said “We are proud to announce that we will be implementing state-of-the-art technology in the form of biometric wrist bands, which provide constant feedback on client heart rates, location and activity levels. We have a paperless client report system and upon discharge, the clients can make use of a mood monitoring application to track their progress.” If any irregularities are noticed, the app will notify the Bel Esprit team who will then be able to respond and assist the person.
“In Namibia we are faced with devastating statistics on gender violence, suicides, family violence and substance abuse to name but a few social factors contributing to the rise in mental illnesses” continued Glen-Spyron.
Bel Esprit clinic offers the support structure for people suffering from mental illness to help them grow out from under the shadows of mental health stigma and discrimination, to live functional, productive lives.
Masabane further announced that new legislation is at an advanced stage of development and would, once promulgated, establish an appropriate legal framework to protect the rights of people with mental disorders, to promote mental health, to prevent disorders and to ensure appropriate services for treatment and rehabilitation.
“The ministry developed a roadmap that proposes the establishment of four mental hospitals across the country by 2023 and that every district hospital should have a psychiatric wing to cater for mentally ill patients” advised Masabane.
“Alongside the development of these facilities, Halfway Houses, Day Care Centres and Sheltered Workshops to provide for rehabilitation and after-care of psychiatric patients in the community are also proposed. The roadmap also takes into account the anticipated staff and expertise needed to support these facilities and therefore in-service and formal training of mental health professionals needs to be carried out countrywide” she said.
Pictured at this week’s preview of Bel Espirt Mental Health Clinic, are from the left, Dr Ndjaba, the Clinical Director; Charine Glen-Spyron, the CEO; Pieter Mostert, the architect, Councillor Tekla Uwanga of the City of Windhoek; Verona du Preez, the Operational Director; and Mrs Petronella Masabane, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Services.