Dec. 31, 2021, noon

Mental health issues and pressing concerns affecting our communities

The Geruka Healing Centre in partnership with Royal FM engages with the Rwandan community through radio talks on mental health every last Wednesday of the month since 2020. The talks have continued to be a great platform to speak about mental health issues affecting our communities and share knowledge and wisdom on mental health pressing concerns.

These conversations are facilitated by renown journalists Aissa CyizaUmuhire Rebeccaand Jackie Lumbasi featuring mental health experts from the Geruka Healing Centre and people from associations that are striving to advocate for people with mental health problems, including Hear to Share and OPROMAMER.

In the conversations, societal prejudices, stereotypes, social injustices, and psycho-social issues that continue to damage the wellbeing of our communities are questioned and spoken about right from individuals, families, and the community.

Conversations on these platforms have focused on trauma and the historical nature of the issues associated with trauma in our communities, depression, suicidal behaviors, family and domestic violence. These mental health issues have been significantly impacting our families and Rwanda's community. 

Issues related to gender-based violence, and intimate partner violence have been key topics that discussions have explored in throughout this year. The Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey 2019-20 on domestic violence, demonstrates that 46% of ever-married women and 18% of ever-married men have experienced marital physical, sexual, or emotional violence. 

It’s also noted that the prevalence of any marital violence among ever married women enhanced from 40% in 2014-15 to 46% in 2019-20 but decreased slightly from 20% to 18% among men over the same period.

Both the Geruka team and the people with lived experience of mental health issues have spoken and shared on how each of these continue to infest the society and ways in which individuals such as women, youth, and people with lived experience of mental health continue to respond and take charge of their own lives.

Also, the public spaces have offered a possibility for community members to share hope and skills in responding to mental health challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other problems affecting our communities. It has served as an extraordinary opportunity of advocating for psycho-social issues that are a main contributor of mental health issues. 

Such spaces therefore will continue to enable community contributions and finding ways of responding to mental health challenges impacting our society through sharing of knowledge and learning from community members. 

This will be done through embracing non-pathologizing and non-stigmatizing ways through partnerships with people with inside knowledge on mental health issues and voicing the different skills and wisdoms that community members are responding to mental health hardships.

We invite those who want to share or support community conversations through radio talk shows to join the cause.