Zimbabwe is going through a rough patch, if we can call 27 years of gradual decline a patch.
No matter how resilient we are, the people of Zimbabwe are struggling. The unrelenting fight to survive, especially for adults with children of school-going age, has taken a toll on the collective mental health of our nation.
Knowing that there is a serious lack of access to mental health services in our country, we are trying to share information through our website and social media on different types of disorders. We are also sharing resources for those who need access to certified mental health professionals, and will be doing interviews with one or two of these.
Some common disorders affecting Zimbabweans are listed below. This information is meant to help us understand and work through common issues. Our hope is that this information can give you a better understanding of any concerns you may have.
Anxiety is when your body has various reactions to danger, such as feeling threatened, being under intense pressure, or are fearing a stressful situation. There are many symptoms of anxiety, including physical and emotional ones.
Eating disorders can include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia, or Binge Eating. Individuals can suffer from one, or a combination of the disorders. The disorders are dangerous, and can be life threatening. Most people use eating disorders as a means of having some control over an area of their lives.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is when an individual experiences or witnesses and event that they consider traumatic. When trauma crosses over from trauma to PTSD is when the individuals has been impaired by it for longer than 30 days. It can include daytime flashbacks, nightmares, and a heightened fight or flight response.
Depression is a mood disorder in which a person experiences frequent feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed. It impacts how you feel, think and behave and can cause impairments in all areas of your life.
Grief is a typical reaction to loss. When grief becomes an issue for the individual, is when it becomes impairing. When grief is keeping the individual from participating in their everyday life, self care, and obligations, it has crossed over to a point of being significant.
Stress consists of physical, mental, and/or emotional strain on a person. Often, when a person experiences stress, they believe that the demands placed upon them exceed their ability to achieve them.
Anything we share is for information purposes only, and not meant as an alternative to professional assistance – If you, or anyone you know, is considering harming themselves, please consult a certified mental health professional.
A list of mental health professionals in Harare is available here.