On worldwide, 10th October every year is a celebration day of World Mental Health. In Rwanda, it was celebrated on 19th October 2018, in Nyarurema Parish, Nyagatare district, Eastern province lead by the Ministry of Health through Rwanda Biomedical Center together with  Ndera Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, the specialized hospital in mental health and the organization for the promotion of rights and solidarity of persons with mental illness and disability (OPROMAMER). Partners exchanged and assessed problems, difficulties, issues and challenges they encounter in their daily work of caring for the mental health patients and to observe what can be done in mental health care

The theme was: Young people and mental health in changing the world. Young people through the period of adolescence experience different changes being biological, educational, and environmental. During this period most of them change schools and be obliged to live independently out of their parents and/or guardians, they are entering high schools and universities, they are able to access the new technology with a minimum or no supervision. They gain their own friends different from those of the family that may have good or bad behaviors that will obviously impact them. These abrupt changes create for some an exciting and others a very stressing period. Consequently, the way the management of this period is done can be the root cause of mental health disorders which calls upon an education of mental health ethics from families, communities and schools.

The Priest of Nyarurema Parish mentioned that, the parish started the charity of assisting people with mental problems in 2002 with three (3) patients with epilepsy problem; after feeling the pain of mental health patients they went on gathering all street mental health patients and mental health patients who were locked inside the houses and took them to Ndera Neuro Psychiatric Hospital. The parish in assistance with Ndera Hospital is now assisting 215 patients by providing medications, food and occupational activities.

In conclusion the priest calls for anyone to provide assistance for mental health patients to access medication as they are expensive and most of them are with limited finance capacity, he added that the rehabilitation of former patients are much required and calls for assistance in their basic activities like agriculture and tailoring which they are performing in associations, the priest emphasized that the patients need a permanent mental health nurse a close follow up and finally he invited any person devoted with charity to provide medical insurance for those vulnerable mental health patients.  

The president of   OPROMAMER expressed his gratitude of being involved in celebration of World Mental Health Day and confirmed that mental health patients are supported by government and other persons and organizations with charity.  He emphasized that a mental health patient should be treated like other patients without discrimination, he also requested the training in modern agriculture and farming for development of their associations, he finally requested that the caring for mental health patient should be included in the performance (Imihigo) contract of the district.


Director General CARAES Ndera: He thanked everyone who has been actively involved in this celebration and urged them to stop the stigma against mental health patients because basing on the number of patients the hospital is receiving, mental health disorder is an issue which needs due attention. He explained that some cases of mental health disorder can be cured when diagnosed earlier but others need long term treatment together with the support and care of the family and community. He states that mental health illness is like other illnesses and CARAES Ndera has to be regarded as the hospital which treats patients and illness not a hospital which treats insanity. He went on explaining that there is need for more training and supporting activities on mental health care especially in youth. Increase outreach activities so that medical providence will be closer to them.

Director of health in Nyagatare District: In the name of the Mayor of Nyagatare District, he thanked everyone who participated in this celebration and appreciated Ndera Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, OPROMAMER and RBC for organizing this day of acknowledging mental health patient esteem. The district recognizes all activities done by different partners in caring for mental health patients and in particular Nyarurema Parish and ensures them a good collaboration and cooperation. The director promised that the district is going to recruit a permanent mental health Nurse at Nyarurema Health Center; to work with the personnel in charge of development in the District so that this association can be recognized and assisted; all issues related to Ubudehe category and Community Based Health Insurance of mental health patients and their families will be rectified as soon as possible; to sensitize in VIESCO so that former mental patient  who completed tailoring studies can be supported if possible given machines; to ensure all mental health care activities are included in next year District imihigo and that the association will benefit first from all projects set to develop agriculture in this term.

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