AN Oshakati resident has said mental illness can be treated through consistent and strict adherence to the treatment regiment as prescribed by their doctor.
Johannes Endjala said this during the World Mental Health Day commemoration on 10 October at the Yetu Complex in Oshakati. The day’s theme was ‘Young People and Mental Health in the Changing World,’ although there was a notable absence of young people at the event, apart from the student nurses from the University of Namibia and the Oshakati Regional Health Training Centre.
Endjala told the people that he has been on medication for mental illness since 1997, and in a passionate speech revealed that it was possible to be cured of mental illness symptoms and live a normal life.
“It was on 21 April 1997 when I was admitted at the psychiatric section of Oshakati State Hospital. After two weeks I was discharged. And since then I have consistently abided by the prescriptions of the doctor to take my medications, as required, up to this day.
“Now I am fine. People don’t even know that I am a patient of mental illness. I don’t drink alcohol or smoke. I like reading. I read a newspaper every day, and I have a bag full of magazines. As a result I have learned a lot.”
Dr. Moges Ayehu Admossu, the head of the psychiatric department at Oshakati State Hospital told the people who gathered to commemorate Mental Health Day that alcohol and drug abuse were the main causes of mental illness.
“Malaria, meningitis, and brain damage may also lead to mental illness, as well as a history of mental illness in a family may cause children to develop mental illness. But especially alcohol, cannabis use, and other drugs which affect our brains may cause mental illness.”
Dr. Admossu said the psychiatric department was faced with challenges of patients coming late to seek treatment at the hospital. “The majority of people in Namibia attribute mental illness to witchcraft. So they first go to seek help at traditional healers before they come to the hospital. Mental illness is not caused by witchcraft but by certain chemical changes in our brains.”
Dr. Admossu said this year’s theme of was appropriate since “the world is changing at a fast pace and young people face exposure to psychologically inconvenient situations, which may cause them to develop depression and mental health problems.
Oshakati Mayor Angelus Iyambo on his part said the importance of mental health was one of the issues that was much ignored and of which there was little awareness in the community. “Let’s take care of ourselves through prevention and treatment. We have to understand the early signs of mental illness. This day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders who work with mental health issues to talk about and find out what can be improved. Young people should show their support of this day by creating awareness on social media and everywhere.”
The day also saw drama performances by nursing students from the University of Namibia and the Oshakati Regional Health Training Centre. Chief occupational therapist at the Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Unit in the Ministry of Health and Social Services in Oshana Hannah Kambowe directed the day’s events.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015