‘Economic challenges contributing to mental health disorders’

A mental health advocate has revealed that the economic challenges experienced by most Zimbabweans have become one of the triggers of various mental health problems.

World mental health day is observed on 10 October and it is an opportunity to raise awareness of mental health issues and advocacy against social stigma.

This year’s theme is ‘suicide prevention’ and according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide.

In an interview with CITE, the founder of the African Institute for Ending Violence, Bullying and Suicide (AFRIBS) Zenani Masuku said mental health illness can be triggered by many causes and the economic situation was one of them as the environment was not kind to many.

“Today we commemorate with the world, mental health day, running with the theme ‘Mental health promotion and suicide prevention. This year hasn’t been very kind to a majority of Zimbabweans, the harsh economic environment has been the trigger to various kinds of psychological problems,” said Masuku.

“With the rise of inflation, deteriorating health care services, rise in fuel prices, low income and examination preparations, it becomes necessary to practice self care and talk more about better mental health practices to avoid severe effects such as clinical depression or suicide.

Masuku said suicide is preventable and urged those suffering in silence to seek clinical help.

“As an organisation we wish  to let people know  that challenges such as anxiety, depression and stress can be dealt with through various coping skills that do not  require  money such as  practicing mindfulness, sleep, hygiene, gratitude, relaxation techniques such as going for walks or run, drinking more water and talking more about how they feel with friends or loved ones as well as journaling thoughts,” she said.

“Suicide is preventable and we urge those who are suffering in silence to take a step further and seek clinical help.”

In addition, a clinical psychologist, Barbara Silumbu said mental health can affect one’s ability to positively contribute to society.

“Mental health can affect our daily life relationships, physical health positively or negatively. When our mental health is well that is when one can realise abilities and cope with normal stresses and can be productive and contribute to society,” said Silumbu.

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