'There is a lot of anger in society', says mental health board chairperson

By: Selma Taapopi


The newly appointed chairperson of the mental health board Dr. Nashilongo Shivute, stated that society is angry, easily triggered and prefers to fight rather than having a dialogue. Shivute said employees at the mental health facility are overworked and there is a need to send more students to be trained as professionals in this field. Shivute, who made the remarks during the acceptance speech to head the board for the next three years, also called for the establishment of more mental health facilities in the country. "The challenges that I saw are not only of the patients but of overworked staff. We need to make an effort to send more kids to be trained as professionals in this area. Besides Covid-19, there is a lot of anger in society, when you say this, they (people) just want to punch you. It is no longer about 'what you did you say' or how I can help you. People who are employed are stressed, " stated Shivute adding that much needs to be done to address these challenges. Shivute added that the country has built many institutions such as schools and police stations but has not built mental health facilities. She noted that the board needs to come up with a road map and take issues of mental health seriously. In addition, the health deputy minister Ester Muijangue who inaugurated the mental health board, stated people have been exposed to many atrocities as a result of the multiple colonialism which is causing inter-generational trauma and this has been worsened by Covid-19 pandemic. Muinjangue urged the board to engage , support and contribute towards the finalisation of the mental health bill. Muinjangue emphasised on the board's objectives, which is to regulate mental health care in Namibia in order to promote the dignity, autonomy, human rights and the optimal mental, social and physical wellbeing of persons with mental health conditions. Muinjangue added that the board will oversee the care and treatment of persons with mental health conditions and set out the procedures that must be followed should persons with mental health conditions require admission to mental health facilities and when they are discharged. Furthermore, health deputy executive director Petronella Masabane stated Namibia is post conflict country which also plays a role in what is being manifested the society such as suicides, violence, depression, anger and frustration. "I call it our second pandemic within this decade because not only have our people for the first time experienced a devastating pandemic but many people have lost loved ones and they have lost livelihoods. There are people who could not bury loved ones in dignity. We are still assisting families to come to terms with that trauma," stated Masabane. The seven member board includes Ndahambelela Mthoko, Milka Mushimba, Joey Tromp, Miriam Aula, Willem Petrus Andrew and their term will run for three years. The mental health board is appointed in terms of the mental health act 18 of 1973 which was gazetted on the 11th of November 2018 'There is a lot of anger in society' mental health board chairperson The newly appointed chairperson of the mental health board Dr. Nashilongo Shivute, stated that society is angry, easily triggered and prefers to fight rather than having a dialogue. Dr. Shivute who was speaking during the inuaguration of the mental health board also called for the establishment of more mental health facilities in the country. The newly appointed chairperson of the mental health board Dr. Nashilongo Shivute stated that staff at the mental health facilities are overworked and there is a need to send more students to be trained as professionals in this field. Shivute , who has a background in radiology, was speaking in her acceptance speech to head the board for the next three years. According to Dr. Shivute, there is still a lot that needs to be done to address matters regarding mental health. She also noted that the country must take mental health seriously. "The challenges that I saw there are not only of the patients but overworked staff. We need to make an effort to send more kids to train as professionals in this area. Besides covid-19 there is a lot of anger in society, people that are employed have too many stresses." "Also the fact that when we had money we built schools, we built police stations all over the country, we built agricultural centers, we have not built facilities for mental health". In addition, the health deputy minister Ester Muijangue who inaugurated the mental health board stated that Namibian have been exposed to many atrocities as a result of the multiple colonialism which is causing intergenerational trauma and has been worsened by Covid-19 pandemic. "I would like to emphasise on the objectives which guide the board's operations: to regulate mental health care in Namibia in order to promote the dignity, autonomy, human rights and the optimal mental, social and physical wellbeing of persons with mental health conditions, to provide for the care and treatment of persons with mental health conditions, to set out the procedures that must be followed should persons with mental health conditions require admission to mental health facilities and for their discharge, to establish review boards to supervise the functions of mental health services and mental health facilities". Health Deputy Executive Director Petronella Masabane further stated that more attention needs to be given to the mental health adding that Namibia is post conflict country which also plays a role in what is being manifested the society such as suicides, violence, depression, anger and frustration. "We realised that there's one aspect in our service delivery that we need to give more attention to, and that is the mental health of our nation, I call it our second pandemic within this decade because not only have our people for the first time experienced a devastating pandemic but many people have lost loved ones, they have lost livelihoods, there are people who couldn't bury loved ones in dignity. We are still assisting families to come to terms with that trauma." The seven member board comprises Ndahambelela Mthoko, Milka Mushimba, Joey Tromp, Miriam Aula, Willem Petrus Andrew and their term will run for three years. The mental health board is appointed in terms of the mental health act 18 of 1973 which was gazetted on the 11th of November 2018



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