TAPA advocates investment in mental health care

DAR ES SALAAM: IN a bid to tackle the escalating challenges associated with mental health, the Tanzania Psychological Association (TAPA) has appealed to the government to increase investments in mental health care.

The appeal comes as the association renews its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the American Psychological Association (APA).

TAPA President, Mr Magolanga Shagembe emphasized the urgent need for enhanced mental health care infrastructure, citing the prevalence of events in the country directly linked to mental health problems among various age groups.

“From young people to adults, we are witnessing a myriad of events that are directly related to mental health problems,” Shagembe stated during a meeting held in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

He stressed the significance of addressing childhood traumas, as many adult reactions are rooted in early life experiences, highlighting the importance of early intervention.

As part of their appeal, TAPA recommended placing psychologists in village offices, akin to community development officers, to provide crucial assistance at early stages before individuals engage in behaviours that may harm themselves or others.

Mr Shagembe, who is also an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Dar es Salaam, proposed the presence of psychologists in all schools nationwide.

He urged the Ministry of Education to incorporate psychologists in schools, equipping students with knowledge on how to cope with various mental health issues.

“By guiding children towards proper behaviour and instilling good manners from a young age, we can contribute to the creation of a generation with greater mental stability,” Shagembe noted.

Addressing the issue of students using abusive language in national exams, Shagembe advocated for a psychological approach rather than outright bans. He urged that these pupils need the assistance of psychologists to identify the root causes of their behaviour.

Proactive measures in mental health care, according to Mr Shagembe, can pave the way for a healthier and more stable society.

The appeal aligns with TAPA’s ongoing efforts, in collaboration with the APA, to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and promote therapy as a helpful resource for children, adolescents, parents, couples and families.

APA Team Leader, Professor Eva Feindler from Long Island University, New York, emphasised the importance of fostering a society knowledgeable about mental health issues.

She noted the collaborative efforts with TAPA to dispel the stigma surrounding therapy and mental health in Tanzania.

TAPA advisor, Dr Chris Mauki, highlighted the challenges posed by globalisation on Tanzanian society, emphasising the need for societal understanding regarding spiritual, psychological and health problems.

He stressed the importance of widespread knowledge about mental health problems, symptoms and possible solutions.

The call from TAPA underscores the critical role mental health plays in overall societal well-being, urging the government to prioritise and invest in mental health care to create a healthier, more resilient nation.

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