The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday Life Reporter
AS people of faith, Christians believe that prayer is the solution to all worldly problems.
No matter how difficult the issues one might face, or how relentless the demons that may be stacked against them, a word with the Lord is the one sure way to bring relief in a faithful Christian’s life.
However, the lord helps those that helps themselves, scripture says, and with that being the case, should one have an ailment of some sort, it is wise that they seek medical advice.
While this has been the standard for many years, the same has often not been applied to mental health.
Often individuals, whether they are of faith or not, find themselves abandoned if they have some mental problems.
For some believers, prayer is believed to be the only solution and for non-believers, other remedies are also recommended.
Enter Dignity Africa Foundation (DAF), a Christian-based organisation, that helps restore and to bring as much awareness to mental, social and emotional health by combining both Christian and medical methods. The foundation aims to deal with the ever-increasing suicides rates and break the stigma on mental illness.
“Our aim is to always seek Christian methods to solve our problems, but like any other body part, the brain is an organ and also fails, we also use medical professionals to assist with the individuals battling mental illness,” said Nanji-Taswa Banda of the foundation she founded alongside Tiyanjane-Natelo Banda.
“The world health organisation states that 1.2 percent of any population suffers from Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), regardless of race and gender. It also states that it’s among the top 10 most disabling illnesses. While depression, mental illness and OCD is the most common illness worldwide with 264 million people affected its rarely addressed in the African society as its usually associated with witchcraft and demons and often times the person is deemed weak,” Taswa Banda said.
Suicide is the 19th most common cause of death in Zimbabwe, with 1641 people taking their own lives in 2018 about 1.3 percent of all deaths, while one in four people worldwide suffer from mental health or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. As they grappled with such weighty problems, Taswa Banda said they had been conducting online and physical workshops to build awareness on the issue.
“We have had both online and physical workshops, with an abundant response from people, as well as individual counselling. We recently had a donation in Borombo, Nguboyenja and Thorngrove and we are fortunate to have donors who have a heart for the people.
“And as will soon be donating books to the underprivileged, keeping the mind busy and active gives little room for depression to sink in. As we are a new foundation a lot of work is still to be done, in the form of workshops and donations, and we are open to anyone willing to assist in any form. Medical professionals willing to take on a few pro bono clients would go a long way in our cause,” she said.