ICRC marks World Mental Health Day, calling for an end to stigma

(Thessherald)–Today, 10 October 2020, the International Committee of the Red Cross marked World Mental Health Day – with a call to an end to stigma and attitudes towards people with mental illnesses.

“As October 10th marks World Mental Health Day, an untold number of people in South Sudan are struggling with depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems caused by conflict and violence and not receiving the support they need, especially in rural areas, either because services are not available or because of the taboo that often surrounds mental health needs prevent people to access care,” the aid agency said today.

ICRC

The International Committee of the Red Cross stressed the need to promote mental health and care for people with mental challenges.

“Mental health is just as important as physical health and more needs to be done to ensure that people have access to the care they need, and that they don’t face stigma for seeking help,” said Fiona Allan, the mental health and psychosocial support manager for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in South Sudan.

“Far too many people suffer in silence for months, years, and even decades because of fear, shame, and misconceptions about mental health.”

“We want people to know that mental health problems are common, especially after years of war, and it is ok to seek help no matter the cause of the mental distress.”

“In the more than 1,200 patients supported with Mental health and psychosocial support services seen by the ICRC in South Sudan this year, symptoms linked to depression and anxiety were the most common issues reported, an indication of what many in South Sudan may suffer from in silence despite them being common reactions to conflict and violence.”

Globally, according to the World Health Organization, more than one person in five in conflict-affected areas lives with some form of mental health problems, from mild depression and anxiety to post-traumatic stress disorder.

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