’25 percent of Zimbabweans Once Had a Mental Disorder’

ABOUT 25 percent of adults are believed to have suffered from a mental health disorder once upon a time in their life.

By Kudakwashe Pembere

Mental healthcare expert Dr Sacrifice Chirisa told HealthTimes on the sidelines of a Roundtable focus on Mental Health workshop  in Harare that Zimbabwe was not doing enough to tackle this burdening scourge.

Mental health is very common. It’s ambiguous. It’s everywhere in the world. Zimbabwe included. What we have just seen is that Zimbabwe has not been very serious on mental health as it should be and as it should have done. We are pushing. We are agitating that more emphasis must be put for mental healthcare,” he said.

He quantified the rates at which the Zimbabwean population is affected.

“What we know is that 25 percent of adults at some point in their life will suffer from a mental health disorder. There are other conditions which affect everyone for example depression which affects 18 to 20 percent of all women. It affects 10 percent of men.

“There are things like drug or alcohol disorders, they affect 5 percent of all the people that are drinking alcohol at any one time. These are serious statistics given that we are talking in the million. There are other conditions like schizophrenia which occur in one percent of the population. So we have hundreds of thousands of people that need mental health care and are either not accessing mental health services or they do not even know they are suffering from mental health,” he said.

Dr Chirisa said there was need for more awareness on mental health issues.

“So we are advocating that there be more outreaches. More awareness programs happening at all levels of society. And we believe that this should start in the primary schools, secondary schools, community clubs, churches, universities, everywhere. We should do this together and make people aware and make sure that help is available,” he said.

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