Public urged to embrace mentally ill people

KIGALI - As the world gears up for the World Mental Health Day on October 27, Rwandans have been urged to take part in helping mentally-ill persons.The call was made, Tuesday, by the National Coordinator of the Mental Health Programme, Yvonne Kayiteshonga, during a news briefing in Kigali.She observed that many mentally-ill people get worse or delay to recuperate whenever they are isolated from society.
(R-L)Eugene Rutembese of NUR along with Dr Yvonne Kayiteshonga, the Coordinator of the Mental Health Programme during the press conference. The New Times / Timothy Kisambira
(R-L)Eugene Rutembese of NUR along with Dr Yvonne Kayiteshonga, the Coordinator of the Mental Health Programme during the press conference. The New Times / Timothy Kisambira

KIGALI - As the world gears up for the World Mental Health Day on October 27, Rwandans have been urged to take part in helping mentally-ill persons.

The call was made, Tuesday, by the National Coordinator of the Mental Health Programme, Yvonne Kayiteshonga, during a news briefing in Kigali.

She observed that many mentally-ill people get worse or delay to recuperate whenever they are isolated from society.

“Being mentally disturbed doesn’t necessarily mean that one is mad. Mental sickness is like any other disease. These people shouldn’t be stigmatised by society but should be accepted and treated like other people,”Kayiteshonga said.

She added that if these people are perceived as mad, then they will become more traumatised, increasing their mental incapability.

Rwanda has five psychiatrists and around 500 psychologists, she noted.

Kayiteshonga observed that mental health services had increased with more patients accessing the necessary medical services. She added that the situation would further improve in the near future.

A psychologist from Service de Consultations Psycho-Socials (SCPS), Christelle Bwiza, noted that mentally-ill people are usually taken to health facilities only when their situation had deteriorated.

She advised that mental health cases should always be referred for medical assistance in the early stages of sickness.

Bwiza also pointed out that for a mentally-ill person to regain good mental health, it requires the efforts of both medics and the community.

“It’s not enough to prescribe medicine to mentally disturbed persons. The community and families play a vital role in helping a mentally disturbed person to recover.” 

She added that mentally-ill persons should be allowed to carry out house chores and all other activities like other normal persons so as to facilitate them to regain their proper mental abilities.

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