Rwanda joined other countries all over the World to celebrate the World Mental Health Day under the theme, "Make Mental Health & Well-Being for All a Global Priority" a theme chosen by a global vote that was open to the public, including World Federation Mental Health members, stakeholders, and supporters. The theme was contextualized in Kinyarwanda as "Duharanire kubaho neza twita ku buzima bwo mu mutwe bwa buri wese”.
This theme was chosen by a global vote that was open to the public, including World Federation Mental Health members, stakeholders, and supporters.
Celebration of the Mental Health Day is an opportunity for people with mental health conditions, sponsors, governments, employers, and other stakeholders to come together to recognize progress in this field and to be vocal about what is needed to do to ensure Mental Health and Well-Being becomes a Priority for all.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a global crisis for mental health, fueling short- and long-term stresses and undermining the mental health of millions.
Estimates put the rise in both anxiety and depressive disorders at more than 25% during the first year of the pandemic. At the same time, mental health services have been severely disrupted and the treatment gap for mental health conditions has widened.
According to Dr. Yvonne Kayiteshonga, the Manager of Mental Health Division at Rwanda Biomedical Center, Stigma and discrimination continue to be a barrier to social inclusion and access to the right care.
“We envision a world in which mental health is valued, promoted and protected; where everyone has an equal opportunity to enjoy mental health and to exercise their human rights; and where everyone can access the mental health care they need,” she commented.
Statistics indicate a growing trend of Mental health situation which is becoming increasingly challenging in general and specifically for young people growing up today.
The Covid-19 has increased the risk of having distress but there were also pre-existing mental health issues among adolescents.
Suicide and substance abuse numbers have been steadily rising and young people are expected to become more and more lonely.
Highlighting and increasing awareness on mental health problems to parents, families, and on the young people will focus on how to break the cycles of abuse, violence, substance use, making a significant contribution to pulling mental health out of the shadows increasing chance to seek help from mental health services.
Other strategies being undertaken include the promotion of social inclusion policies, support and direct investment for vulnerable populations and investment in communities and young people to reduce crime.
Also needed, is the support of well-being interventions across the life course from pregnancy, birth, early childhood, early teens, adulthood to older adulthood in a quest to improve the social determinants of health and address mental health stigma and discrimination for mental health services accessibility.
However, Rwanda’s Ministry of Health has invested more in Mental Health: A Mental Health Centre is under construction in Kigali.
Mental health services are provided at health centres and district hospitals across the country while specialized mental health services have been availed to different health facilities like CARAES Ndera and other teaching hospitals as well as referral hospitals.