MHPSS World Day: “Mental health and the Respect of the rights”

“This event boosted my hunger to serve in a challenging situation”

Chad celebrated MHPSS World on 26 October instead of 10. This was a success for the technical working groups since WHO used to fund and organise this event. On this day, other working group members took the opportunity to fund and organise the event. Although Chad yearly celebrates this day, MHPSS has always been taboo and thus neglected. Even the secretary of the Ministry of Health recognised this in her speech.

This activity meant a lot for me as an MHPSS expert in Chad. It took a lot to convince different organisations to come together for the same cause and collect all the funds needed to celebrate Mental Health World Day (MHWD). This event boosted my courage and hunger to serve in such a challenging situation as in Chad.

MHWD meant a lot for MHPSS working groups as it served as a channel of communication and sensitisation to the community and decision-makers. As mentioned before, mental health is unknown or somewhat neglected and taboo. For the health sector, mental health means a psychiatric and rehabilitation centre. Unfortunately, this does not exist and lacks competencies and skills. Chad has only one psychiatrist doctor, who has been absent from the country for some time. As the university does not offer psychology, there are only a few psychologists. MHWD was an eye-opener for the decision-makers, the health sector and the community at large.

MHWD was also very important for the Chadian community. It clarified that the taboo mental health subject whose solutions could not be found in the health sector can be dealt with openly. It also showed that victims of mental disorders have rights. They should be treated as human beings.

This year, the theme of the day for Chad was “Mental Health and the Respect of rights”. The theme advocated for the right of people with mental health issues. Often, the system treats them inhumanly. They often lack proper food, are chained to objects, and are left on their own with all sorts of mistreatments. The theme also advocated for families of these patients to not feel ashamed of their siblings and, as a result, neglect them.