Experts call for understanding of mental health needs

There is need to understand the causes of particular mental disorders in order to find the right mental health needs.

There is need to understand the causes of particular mental disorders in order to find the right mental health needs.

This was raised at a two-day international symposium on mental health, which brought together scholars and researchers in the field.

According to Prof. Eugène Rutembesa, focus was put on existing ways and other potential ways of addressing mental health problems in Rwanda as well as in the region.

Participants emphasised on the contextualisation of solutions of mental health problems in post- conflict countries.

He noted that it was found that some solutions might prove to be perfect in some areas but fail to make any impact in other places.

“We need to put every solution in the right  context and see if it can work,” Rutembesa said. “As the world evolves, new problems emerge and new solutions are devised. Books have been written, research carried out and solutions envisaged, but contextualisation is very important.”

The symposium was also an occasion for local researchers to network with international scholars and exchange ideas on how to improve their work, Prof Rutembesa said.

Improving services

Dr Jean Damascene Iyamuremye, the head of Mental Health department at the Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC),said that such conferences help improve services.

The meeting, organised by the National University of Rwanda (NUR) through the department of clinical Psychology and the University Centre for Mental Health was held under the theme: ““Elaborating intervention models and modes of training in Mental Health in Rwanda”

The symposium brought together mental health scholars and researchers from Rwanda, Belgium, United States of America, Canada, France, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Participants discussed various topics ranging from violence and mental health, forgiveness, trauma, to various ways of helping people with mental health problems, amongst others.

Globally, close to 450 million people are said to have mental health disorders with more than 75 per cent of them in developing countries. According to the World Health Organisation, over 80 per cent of people with serious mental disorders in the developing world do not receive any treatment.

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