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The World Health Organization recognizes World Mental Health Day on 10 October every year

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

Suicidal thinking

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.

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