Disaster prone communities need mental resilience

A mental health expert bemoans the absence of psychological first aid in Zimbabwe especially amidst climate disasters.
The Cyclone Idai disaster which struck Zimbabwe in March 2019, left many people in Manicaland distressed with health workers left with vicarious trauma as they lost their houses, families and other properties. First responders were also affected greatly. These affected people are still reeling from the effects of the climate disaster having post traumatic stress disorder among others.
Speaking in a Panzvimbo Trust organised webinar last week, Dr Nemache Mawere said it was important for disaster prone communities to develop mental resilience.
“As mental health practitioners, we need to build resilience among our communities to see how…when disaster strikes they have a way of dealing with mental health illnesses.
“We need to recognise them early and have systems in place to identify and treat people early giving them things like psychological first aid which I think has been lacking greatly among our people because when we see the complicated cases at our hospitals, its because we didn”t have psychological first aid at the time of incident,” he said.
Lack of psychological first aid has also led to many people suffering from disorders such as depression alongside the spike in suicides.

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