NAMIBIA: HEALTH/NBC/11/10/17 SABANews 1
WINDHOEK – The Head of the NAMIBIA Mental Health Unit has called on society to treat mental illnesses like any other health problems, because that is what they are.
HILEN NDJABA says mental illnesses are treatable and patients can continue to function in their daily lives the same way other people with problems like heart diseases and diabetes can.
She says the rest of society, especially employers and workers, should learn to respect people suffering from mental complications in order to remove the current misconceptions.
DR NDJABA says many people are reluctant to disclose their mental medical reports to their bosses for fear of losing their jobs.
She says employers, in fact, do not want to take employees back once they produce records of mental illness, which is why people are scared to admit they need help and seek treatment.
On the other hand, DR NDJABA says the patients also plead with their doctors to write anything else on their medical certificates, except a mental illness condition.
She says companies should put in place initiatives to promote mental health care and support for workers with such disorders, instead of sending them home or victimising them.
Medical authorities say mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in thinking, emotion or behaviour, or a combination of them.
They say mental illnesses are common conditions associated with distress and/or problems functioning in family, work or social activities, and they do not discriminate.
Anyone can suffer from the diseases regardless of age, gender, income, social status, race or ethnicity, religion or spirituality, sexual orientation, background or other aspect of cultural identity.
The illnesses can occur at any age, but 75 percent of all mental cases begin by age 24 – and they take many forms, some being fairly-mild and only interfering in limited ways with daily life, like certain phobias or abnormal fears.
However, a number of other mental health conditions are so severe that a person may need care in a hospital; yet they can all be treated.
NBC News gives an example of LUKAS AMAKALI, a bank employee who the broadcaster says has proven a person with mental illness can be as productive as anyone else can.
Mr AMAKALI had ONE of the common illnesses, Bipolar Disorder, involving episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs, which diagnosed 22 years ago.
They admitted him into a Mental Health Unit for ONE, after which he returned to his job at the bank and has since spent many years of service.
The NAMIBIAN bank worker says it is not easy to deal with mental illness when the rest of society judges and isolates you./Sabanews/cam