By Malachie Tuyishime.
The theme of 2022’s World Mental Health Day, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, is ‘Make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority’. this world mental health is an opportunity to play part in rising awareness and mobilizing effort to support those with mental health conditions. The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.
World Health Organization Representative to Rwanda Dr Brian Chirombo says “In our work, we see people of all backgrounds living with mental illness. Often misunderstood, their conditions are left untreated until the eleventh hour.”
Between 2019 and 2020, the Rwanda Integrated Health Management Information System recorded a 40% increase in people under 20 years consulting mental health services.
Mental health problems exist in our lives, families, workplaces and communities, impacting everyone. To work together to prevent mental ill-health as individuals and as a society. World Health Organization will continue to call on national and local governments to prioritise reducing the factors known to pose a risk to people’s mental health, enhancing those known to protect it and creating the conditions needed for people to thrive.
Signs and symptoms of mental illness can vary, depending on the disorder, circumstances and other factors. Mental illness symptoms can affect emotions, thoughts and behaviors.
Examples of signs and symptoms include:
Feeling sad or down
Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
Withdrawal from friends and activities
Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
Problems with alcohol or drug use
Major changes in eating habits
Sex drive changes
Excessive anger, hostility or violence
Certain factors may increase your risk of developing a mental illness, including:
A history of mental illness in a blood relative, such as a parent or sibling
Stressful life situations, such as financial problems, a loved one’s death or a divorce
An ongoing (chronic) medical condition, such as diabetes
Brain damage as a result of a serious injury (traumatic brain injury), such as a violent blow to the head
Traumatic experiences, such as military combat or assault
Use of alcohol or recreational drugs
A childhood history of abuse or neglect
Few friends or few healthy relationships
A previous mental illness
Data reported of World Health Organization updated 7 October 2022 about mental health cases in Rwanda shows 132 508 Confirmed cases, and 1 467 Confirmed deaths.