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Making mental health care for all a reality in Somalia: United Nations and government join forces to develop quality mental health services at all levels of care

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Making mental health care for all a reality in Somalia: United Nations and government join forces to develop quality mental health services at all levels of care

We all have a role to play in supporting each other as a society and in making mental health a reality in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia, October 10, 2021 / APO Group / –

For this year’s World Mental Health Day, the WHO global theme is “Mental health care for all: let’s make it happen”. Over the past year, there is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the mental health of millions of people around the world, especially healthcare workers and other primary workers. line, people living alone and people with pre-existing mental health problems. . In addition, at a time when mental, neurological and psychosocial support services were perhaps most needed, there have been significant disruptions in essential health care, including mental health services at all levels, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, there are still reasons for optimism – with improving COVID-19 vaccine coverage, more people are accessing health services, including for mental health. In addition, at the 2021 World Health Assembly, governments around the world recognized the need to develop quality mental health services at all levels – a task that WHO continues to strive towards at all levels. alongside governments around the world, including Somalia.

Somalia has been particularly affected by mental health problems due to decades of protracted conflict, which have severely disrupted social cohesion, shattered social norms and led nearly one in three Somalis to suffer from some form of mental health problem. Mental Health. In response, the Federal Government of Somalia and the United Nations (UN) in Somalia have joined forces to reiterate their support for this year’s World Mental Health Day theme, as well as to deliver an additional key message specific to Somalia: Take bold action and deliver quality mental health care and health services in the country.

“We all have a role to play in supporting each other as a society and in making mental health a reality in Somalia,” said SE. Dr Fawziya Abikar Nur, Minister of Health and Social Services of Somalia. “We can support and listen to people, and their friends and relatives, who have been the worst victims of violence and conflict for years. We can also work with them to confidently discuss their mental health issues with health workers and also advocate and mobilize for quality mental health services to be available at all levels, including at home. primary level.

The honorable minister added that communities must end the stigma surrounding mental health, seek the right support and speak more openly about their problems to manage stress and improve people’s well-being.

To address these challenges, the federal government worked with the WHO to develop a mental health strategy for 2019-2022 and is currently finalizing a mental health policy. In addition, with the support of the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund from 2020 to 2021 and as part of a partnership between the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), National University of Somalia and WHO, the federal government led the implementation of a mental health project in the context of “health for peace” with particular emphasis in Baidoa, Kismayo , Dollow, Galkaayo and Mogadishu. This project has helped healthcare workers understand, treat and provide more care for people in need of mental health support, as well as raise awareness of mental health issues. The project is also generating evidence on the interdependence between mental health and peace, a topic that has not been well studied or studied anywhere in the world.

“Today more than ever, Somalis need mental health support. As a resilient society, Somalis have suffered the effects of protracted conflict and health emergency after health emergency, ”said Dr Mamunur Rahman Malik, WHO Representative in Somalia. “Together with the federal government and our partners, we are ensuring that the WHO action agenda on the mental health gap is mainstreamed at all levels of care, particularly at the community and primary levels. ”

“The conflict in Somalia has an impact on millions of children. Continued exposure to violence, fear and uncertainty can have a devastating impact on their behavior, learning, emotional and social development for years to come, ”said UNICEF Representative in Somalia Mohamed Ayoya. “It is our job and our collective responsibility to help these children recover and regain some sense of normalcy. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, WHO and partners, UNICEF is providing children – who have witnessed extreme violence and loss – with psychological and psychosocial support. “

“No health system can be fair if it does not provide mental health services to those who need them most, which is why UNDP Somalia supports counseling and mediation for vulnerable groups, including women. victims of violence and families facing conflict, ”said United Nations resident Jocelyn Mason. Acting Coordinator and Resident Representative of UNDP in Somalia.

On this year’s World Mental Health Day, the WHO Somalia country office strongly supports the global theme of “Mental health care for all: let’s make it happen” and will continue to work on it. working closely with government and all partners to improve quality mental health services at all levels in Somalia.

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