By FODPZ Secretariat
On the 10th of October every year, the global community commemorates ‘World Mental Health Day’. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 2004, mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his /her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
According to Mental Health Foundation UK, the green ribbon is used to raise awareness and support good mental health for all. The green ribbon is the symbol of mental health awareness recognized internationally.
The Federation of Organisations of Disabled People in Zimbabwe (FODPZ) joins its partners, Zimbabwe National Association for Mental Health (ZIMNAMH) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Trust, the Disability Fraternity and the Nation at large in commemorating this day and presents the following:
It is a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress and impairment of personal functioning or affects mood, thinking, and behavior.
Factors that contribute to mental health impairment:
·1. Biological factors such as genes and brain chemistry.
·2. Environmental factors such as life experiences.
·3. Family history of mental health.
Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NB: This can be managed by the right medication and psychotherapy.
In Zimbabwe, Mental Health is regulated by the Mental Health Act (Chapter 15:12) of 1996. Regrettably, the Act uses derogatory terms such as ‘mentally disordered’ and ‘intellectually handicapped’ which degrade and stigmatize persons with mental impairment. The Act is informed by the outdated Medical Model of Disability which is at variance with Human Rights Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), the Act does not confer any rights to persons with Mental Disabilities as it is primarily custodial and cohesive in its approach to mental health care which undermines the Human Rights and Recovery of persons with Mental Impairment.
For instance, Section 30 of the Mental Health ACT provides for indefinite detention of prisoners found to be ‘mentally disordered ‘or ‘intellectually handicapped’ in special institutions which is a clear violation of the right to liberty
amongst other rights.
FODPZ calls for an urgent review of the Mental Health ACT Chapter 15:12 to align with current international laws and best practices in mental health care.
The new Act must recognize and confer Human Rights of persons with mental disabilities as equal citizens before the law and with the right of equal protection and benefit of the law acknowledging that not ‘all disabilities are visible’ .We, therefore, envision Human Rights and Recovery-oriented Mental Health Legislation, Care Services with less cohesion and restriction of liberties, community-based mental health care, and support to reduce unwarranted institutional detentions.
This must be prioritized hence the theme for 2022 ‘Making Mental Health and Well-Being for All a Global Priority.
Inserted by: The FODPZ Secretariat.