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Call for mental health services for torture victims in Zim

Counselling services addressing mental wellness in Zimbabwe have been urged to make their services available and known to assist victims of torture.

This was stated during a discussion on torture, arbitrary arrests, and ill-treatment by security services in Zimbabwe on the CITE X-Space weekday current affairs programme, This Morning on Asakhe.

Speaking during the session, Motshidisi Leatswe, a representative of Amnesty International, noted that torture victims face severe and long-term consequences.

“Torture victims face devastating long-term consequences that are physical, psychological, and include PTSD. Some even develop chronic disabilities or depression. This is why it is important for people who have been tortured to access specialised medical care, counselling, rehabilitation, and if possible, adequate support for their well-being. They should also be reintegrated back into society, especially those who have endured torture for long periods,” said Leatswe.

She urged mental wellness clinics and psychological centres in Zimbabwe to make their services accessible to the public.

“These services are usually available in public hospitals because private services are inaccessible to all. That is why we would like to call on mental wellness clinics and psychological centres in Zimbabwe to support these cases pro bono and ensure their services are accessible. Not everyone knows that pro bono services exist,” said Leatswe.

Furthermore, she mentioned that Civil Society Organizations capable of supporting legal cases should also be recognised.

“There are CSOs that can support legal cases in court. Everybody must know that there is support available where the government is failing to provide legal services.”

“Even for counselling and other mental wellness services, we urge organisations that can support to make their services available to those affected,” said Leatswe.

Torture has often been used as a tool for political repression in Zimbabwe. Opposition activists, human rights defenders, and journalists have been targets, especially during election periods or during protests.

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