Mental Health bill at advanced stage: Shangula

Health and Social Services Minister, Dr Kalumbi Shangula has said the proposed Mental Health Bill is at an advanced stage and should reach Parliament for debate by the end of this year.

Briefing the media on Namibia’s participation in the 76th World Health Assembly on 30 May 2023 in Geneva, Switzerland here on Monday, Shangula said the bill has passed through various consultations and is at the final stage before it is tabled in Parliament.

Shangula explained that the assembly acknowledged the need for member states to reorient their health systems towards addressing mental health issues, particularly amongst youth, noting that globally, post-COVID-19 mental health issues have escalated.

“The bill is now at the preparation stage and we expect it to be introduced in the National Assembly when all the nitty gritty details have been completed. We still hope that maybe by the end of this year, it will be in the National Assembly, but of course, it depends on the other bills which are also there and the limited capacity of the Ministry of Justice to get through,” he noted.

According to statistics released by MoHSS, Namibia’s suicide rate between January 2021 and May 2022 stood at 679, comprising 559 men, 91 women, and 29 children (18 boys and 11 girls).

The Omusati, Ohangwena and Khomas regions recorded the highest suicide rates in the country at 105, 100, and 80, respectively.

The assembly, Shangula said, highlighted the need for member states to ensure and promote mental health in the workplace to improve productivity, rehabilitation programmes, addressing violence, providing psychological care post-trauma, and promoting physical activities and medical treatment.

The bill is aimed at regulating mental health care in Namibia in order to promote the dignity, autonomy, human rights and the optimal mental, social and physical well-being of persons living with mental disabilities; to provide for the care and treatment of persons who are living with mental or intellectual disabilities, amongst others.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

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