Mental Health Department

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Sr. Sheila Devane
P.O. Box 1338 Arusha
mmmakili@habari.co.tz

   

Greetings 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 their knowledge.  

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.   

Since 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.

 
We heartily thank the Philanthropic Society of Arusha Node Marie for accepting to give us free Internet access and in the process for all they are doing to make this world a place where all can be at home – with themselves and with each other.

On behalf of the Mental Health Team and Family  we welcome you to come and visit!

With every blessing,
Sheila Devane mmm