The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused a global mental health crisis, and Namibians were not exempted from this emotional meltdown.
This was said by National Mental Health Care Namibia founder, Cathy Kambanda, during the commemoration of World Mental Health Day.
Kambanda says many aspects of mental health have been challenged, and even before the pandemic in 2019, an estimated one in eight people countrywide were living with a mental disorder.
The mental health expert added that the COVID-19 pandemic has created a global crisis for mental health, fueling short-and long-term stress and undermining the mental health of hundreds of Namibians.
"How many people did not lay their families to rest? How many people did not have closure? What happened to those people? How much anger was created in their hearts? How many souls are still suffering today because they were unable to say their final goodbyes? Yes, the government tried, but was that awareness out there? Did people know that there was counselling for people that were facing COVID."
She says at the same time, the services, skills, and funding available for mental health remain in short supply and fall far below what is needed, especially in low and middle-income communities.
Kambanda, therefore, urges the government to strengthen mental health care services so that the full spectrum of mental health needs is met through a community-based network.
In response to this, Erongo Regions Health Director, Anna Jonas, says the ministry of health has employed more social workers since COVID-19.
Jonas said the region recruited two social workers in Walvis Bay, one in Usakos and two in Omaruru.
She added that this has contributed to increased outreach services to schools.
World Mental Health Day is being celebrated worldwide under the theme "Mental Health & Well-Being Becomes a Global Priority for All."