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Mental health awareness

Mere Naleba
Saturday, May 24, 2014

LEARNING about mental health problems should not only be focused on people in the medical profession.

In fact, it should also involve those living with someone suffering from a mental health disorder and members of the public at large.

The Fiji Alliance for Mental Health organisation, over the past two weeks, have been conducting a series of workshops educating keen participants on how to recognise and intervene when they see someone developing symptoms of a mental health problem.

Through a community small grant, FAMH was able to secure the services of Tazmania University lecturer in the Medical Education Unit Eve De Silva to train 40 participants in Mental Health First Aid training and Suicide Intervention training for eight participants.

"There needs to be more community awareness on the issues of mental health problems," Ms De Silva said.

"So we teach them how to use the motto of nipping in the bud. We give them some tools to work through different presentations like depression, anxiety, psychosis, and substance abuse.

"As far as that is concerned, I think that is beneficial to everyone in the world and in Fiji in particular, we have the same problem in Australia with stigma being very high and self-stigma.

"Also people are very reluctant to seek help because they will be viewed differently and people might feel ashamed of them or feel ashamed of their families."

Ms De Silva believes the first step a person needs to take is to change their mind-set.


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