from the Mental Health Department at
Mt. Meru Regional Hospital Arusha
on World Mental Day,
October 10th 2002
Today we celebrate World Mental Health Day
and the theme this year is on Adolescent and Childhood Abuse. Sobering and sad topics.
We needed to get some information to get ready for
teaching sessions with the hospital staff here at Mt. Meru Regional
Hospital and elsewhere and where better to look than the Internet?
We have had access to a wealth of information on this and many
related topics… the problem now becomes what to choose to read and what to
leave aside ?
So often we find
ourselves saying to each other in the department when we need information:
“lets look up the Internet to see what effect that drug has”;
or: ”lets see what is the latest treatment for Social Anxiety”.
What a blessing and how easy it has all become for us. We also find ourselves directing clients, their families,
students and members of the public to the Internet on the two computers in
the Resource Centre in the department to answer their queries and further
Why have Internet
access in a mental health centre one could ask ?
Well we have given two reasons namely staff and client access.
But couldn’t one think of a better place than a mental health
department for a web search?
We believe not! Having
this facility here not only
provides a much needed and
appreciated service but it goes a long, long way towards de-stigmatising
mental illness. We are now
living in an era of Stigma as tough
and cruel as the ravages of racism, tribalism, sexism etc.
We point to those with mental illness including alcoholism, trauma
stress, dementia etc as
if they don’t belong to the human race or to our “part” of it. In reality we all belong and these psychological or mental
health problems know no boundaries.
We can all be victims or relatives of victims.
So coming to our department can mean coming for therapy, or for
information and much of this information can be got from the Internet.
getting the Internet service here we meet many people coming in and out for a
search; in the process they may
meet one or two of the staff or some clients or both.
The intermingling and relating is wonderful and makes us realize that we
need each other. The Internet can
be the catalyst for many needed meetings that might not otherwise happen
easily… because of stigma and prejudice.