Are you OK? – A message from the World Health Organization to Rwanda on Mental Health Day

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There is no shortage of calamities that can affect our mental health and well-being. With a pandemic in its third year, an increase in weather disasters and uncertain economic times, the setbacks can often seem endless. No community is immune.

This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day is “Making mental health and well-being for all a global priority”. This is indeed what the World Health Organization (WHO) is doing in Rwanda.

The mental health situation is difficult, especially for young people.

Between 2019 and 2020, Rwanda’s Integrated Health Information Management System recorded a 40% increase in people under the age of 20 seeking mental health services.

The 2018 Mental Health Survey also indicated that 10.2% of people with mental disorders were between 14 and 18 years old.

To guide the national mental health response, WHO is supporting the Rwandan government, in collaboration with other partners, to update the mental health strategic plan which sets new targets for the expansion of care services mental health to be achieved by 2024.

The strategy will seek to increase access to quality mental health services by decentralizing them and integrating them into primary health care, ensuring that services are properly budgeted and funded across all sectors.

It will include real and active multisectoral collaboration on the determinants of mental health. The plan will also encourage strategic and effective promotion and prevention programs and utilize a balanced, evidence-based biopsychosocial framework for care. This means understanding the biological, psychological and social factors that affect our emotional well-being.

The strategy will also advocate a people-centred, human rights-based and recovery-oriented approach, with mental health care integrated into services across all sectors.

In our work, we see people from all walks of life living with mental illness. Often misunderstood, their conditions are left untreated until the eleventh hour.

In a related problem, the number of drug addicts is steadily increasing as more and more people feel lonely. Others who contemplate suicide are desperate and think there is no other option. We must be there to help them. There is always a way out – together.

If you notice changes in the way you feel or behave, contact someone you trust. Consider seeing a medical professional who can help you.

Likewise, if you know someone who doesn’t act like him, ask them, “Are you okay? Talk to them, listen to them, and encourage them to ask for help. They may not realize it, but they need help.

We envision a world where mental health is valued, promoted and protected and where everyone can access the mental health care they need.

This World Mental Health Day 2022 is an opportunity for all of us – people with mental health issues, governments, advocates, employers, employees, communities and families – to play our part in raising awareness and mobilizing efforts to support people with mental disorders.

Let’s ensure that mental health and well-being becomes a global priority for everyone, including our community.

Distributed by APO Group for the WHO Regional Office for Africa.

This press release was issued by APO. Content is not vetted by the African Business editorial team and none of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proofreaders or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.