The Sunday News
Thobekile Khumalo, Sunday News Reporter
INGUTSHENI Central Hospital will on Friday host a mental health awareness campaign with the aim of giving an opportunity to the general public to have an appreciation of mental health issues.
In an interview, hospital spokesperson, Miss Vongai Chimbindi said the campaign will start with a march before an address by various stakeholders.
“The campaign will kick-start with a march from Ingutsheni Central Hospital at 8am to the City Hall car park where the function will be held,” she said.
She said although the institution has carried out campaigns before, they felt there was still a need to continue educating people on mental issues.
“The drive behind the campaign is that the appreciation of mental issues is still lacking thus there is a need to continue giving awareness to communities.
“We hope that through this campaign we will succeed to fully equip the general public. Hopefully this will reduce stigma, helping in early detection of the condition and treatment or control being provided on time,” said Miss Chimbindi.
Ingutsheni Central Hospital clinical director Dr Wellington Ranga said that stigma was the biggest problem associated with mental health.
“Stigmatisation that is there in the society is the one affecting people, giving them misconceptions about mental patients that are hard to erase and do away with.
“This leads to cases whereby relatives come to leave patients and never come back afraid of how the society is going to view them,” he said.
“Such programmes as the health awareness campaign that is going to take place are there to do away with all these misconceptions because anyone can be affected by mental challenges so people need to understand that a mental disorder is a chronic disease just like any other disease that people can live a normal life with.”
He said there were other programmes the institution is undertaking to address mental health issues.
“We have a radio programme that speaks on mental health issues and another television programme coming up that will be broadcast from next week,” he said.
We have also been to doing reach-outs in schools, churches, companies and tertiary institutions working together with these people in addressing the problem.”