Mental Health and Development in Africa: Emerging Dimensions in Care

Ethel Gonzales

We yearn to survive, to feel secure, to find pleasure, and overcome pain from the day from birth.

There are specific needs that must be met thereafter, such as food, water, medicine, social and professional support, renewable environment resources, and continuously access them.

Since they are survival, security, social, pleasure needs, we realize the right to access them, and the responsibility and duty to work towards their realization.

When these rights are not protected and defended at most critical time, the affected individual gets overwhelmed to levels when he or she cannot cope, which subsequently disrupts rational judgement, ability to negotiate passage, and appropriately work towards a much desired future good. The hope, belief, and abilities simply fade away.

As a consequence, the distressful dependency syndrome sets in and proves very costly to the family, community, and country. Of course, once the challenge is not managed, it overwhelms families or spreads fast to destabilize the country, and even the world.

Without critical interventions to address rising and fast spreading vulnerability to mental disorders, the cognitive, emotional, physical, social, spiritual and environmental connections with sufferers are impaired to levels of no return, depending on how soon they intervene and elicit favorable response from managed cases.

The hovering and sky-high challenges are absence of mental health on the development agenda, negligence, limited leadership, and lack of financial resources to resolve long-term trauma in the problem, arising from more than a decade of abuse and deprivation caused by selfish human cultures and antisocial systems of governance.

Unfortunately, it is the impaired person, who has the first level motivation and responsibility to turn around his or her future and live well.

There are specific references given to mental cases, some of which have physical, cultural, and social, and spiritual origins. This gives chance for illnesses to grow and influence new others, until total mess breakdown family, society, institutions, cultures, and nation. The dreadful impact can be far-reaching.

But, then, each of these cases ought to be addressed separately in new environments, step-by-step, and basing on the principle of cause-effect relationship, or by searching for cases that lead to others. This way, healing process begins to take shape, until the point when he or she relearns to deal with the old environment and develops healthy coping mechanism. The objective at this time is for him or her to solve personal problems, make good choices, develop goals and attain them, even when he or she finally returns to the old environment.

The hybrid development agenda presents the creation of a mental health infrastructure that creates contact with vulnerable groups based on family and friendship values, to assess cases, pool resources, and design case-specific therapeutic programs to support recovery.

Meanwhile, arrangements are made by supporting team of therapists to pool resources, build sources of strength for clients to cope and exercise resilience when faced with auto-recycled past-life, as blindspots continuously open up and clear away naturally. At this point in time, a person is able to reconcile with his or her past and overcome obstacles to expressing and obtaining needs of life for healthy growth and development.

The assessments and interventions are able to spot unmet needs in a given development phase of life; facilitate desensitization, unlearning of self-harming habits, modeling new views of life and behaviors, restructuring the unhealthy mental attachments and images, processing new conscious and healthy thought patterns, forming new values, and directing emotions to news views and behaviors, until they settle with and be guided by the new person.

Further interventions provide natural and learned means of negotiating access to natural needs and rights, enable adoption of healthy social and environmental constructs, support training in social-health living (expressing and realizing their needs and rights).

Mentors are identified, trained or briefed, teamed with recovering person to support change, until he or she ably fixes most of the burdens of life without help, express desires in most appropriate ways, seek assistance under extreme cases, accomplish tasks they set out to do, become responsible to themselves and society, and work without supervision to achieve lifetime aspirations. This approach corrects ailments from inception and during administration of diverge therapeutic measures. The family, neighborhood, and country benefit very much from the same healing processes and impact of interventions.

In addition, there are initiatives on developing and managing digital tools for effective management of mental health challenges in Africa, where at least 2 in 5 individuals in every family suffer from some form of destabilizing mental disorder, arising from history of abuse and socioeconomic deprivation. This will save families 6 people per homestead from degenerative mental disorders, neighborhoods with up to 100,000 people, and over 40 million others from flattened emotions, retardation, and unresponsiveness to sustained search for social wellbeing, decent livelihoods, stability of families, and social harmony, and sustainable peace.

In doing so, the developed mental infrastructure will enable supported person to survive modern-day predispositions to mental problems, transform vulnerability to physical health problems, resolve social disorders, and support realization of sustainable mental wellbeing, productive living, secure future, happy families, and peaceful neighborhoods, even when conditions are most challenging.

This perspectives managing mental health challenges to boost growth and development present mental wellbeing as the beginning and an end to failing healthcare system in Africa and around the world and, therefore, it is ideal to prioritized it and foster sustainable wellbeing, human security, and peace.

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