NewsDay (Zimbabwe)

Idai victims need psycho-social support: Chiwenga

- Follow Vanessa on Twitter @vanessa_gonye BY VANESSA GONYE

VICE-PRESIDENT and Health minister Constantin­o Chiwenga yesterday said there was need to reach out to people affected by Cyclone Idai in March 2019 as its repercussi­ons could significan­tly impact their mental health.

Chiwenga said this in Harare during the launch of the Special Initiative for Mental Health and the Zimbabwe Mental Health Investment Case.

“The negative mental health effects of Cyclone Idai are still with us where more than 270 000 people were affected by the cyclone, 341 people killed and many more missing. There is, therefore, an increased need to reach out to these people with the ever-needed mental health and psycho-social support,” he said.

Chiwenga said mental healthcare was also pivotal during the COVID-19 period, where the third wave was taking its toll.

“The over-arching goal of the Special Initiative for Mental Health is to improve policy, advocacy, financing and upholding human rights as well as scaling up evidence-based interventi­ons and services for persons living with mental health disorders,” he said.

Chiwenga also bemoaned the increase in mental health disorders caused by drug abuse.

“The mental health investment case also involves an assessment of the current national mental health system which enables identifyin­g the most appropriat­e, feasible mechanisms for scaling up mental health promotion, prevention and care in the country.

“Emphasis is placed on the role of non-health sectors in contributi­ng to the mental health agenda throughout the process,” he said.

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