Sunday April 5, 2020

1 in 3 Somalis Affected By Mental Illness: WHO

Somali Therapist Sees Mental Health as Key to Rebuilding the Country

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Mental Health
According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 3 Somalis is affected by some sort of mental illness. Pixabay

By Salem Solomon

After nearly three decades of war, many Somalis carry invisible scars from exposure to violence. This is a health and lifestyle news.

According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 3 Somalis is affected by some sort of mental illness, a figure that is higher than other low income, war-affected countries. Despite the need, the country only has five mental health centers and a handful of trained psychiatrists practicing.

One Somali mental health practitioner is trying to change this. Rowda Abdullahi Olad is a psychotherapist and founder of Maandeeq Mental Health Without Borders. After practicing in the United States, she returned to her home country with the intention of offering clinical services. She quickly realized the need was far greater.

Mental Health
Rowda Abdullahi Olad is a psychotherapist and founder of Maandeeq Mental Health Without Borders. VOA

“So many have experienced decades of war, drought, displacement and now are still experiencing terror attacks daily,” she told VOA during an interview in Washington. “So how that affects people is not that we can address only with a clinical approach. So what I came up with when I went back to Somalia is that mental health should be an integral component of state-building and political stability.”

‘A nation that needs healing’

Working with political leaders, aid organizations and civil society groups, Olad holds training events to educate the public about the problem and its treatments.

“Most of my work relates to how I can tell the international community and people who work in the humanitarian sector and development and Somali government to understand this is a nation that needs healing,” she said. “This is a nation that has experienced more than what a human mental capacity can take.”

Olad also believes progress on issues like reconciliation and peace-building cannot occur without including mental health services. Many of the people entrusted with playing roles in healing the country need to be healed themselves, she said.

“What I have seen is people who are in a conflict reconciliation setting or negotiation setting, you can see people are so traumatized, and you can feel their interactions daily,” she said. “You can see the clinical and psychosocial healing needs on the ground.”

Stigma of mental illness

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A man walks past a dead body and destroyed buildings at the scene of a blast in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia. VOA

Olad’s organization is working to erase the stigma around health in Somalia. People suffering from mental illness are often shunned by society and even their families. Harmful practices, including using chains to restrain patients, are still used in the country.

“There is a stigma because [people believe] either you are crazy or you’re not crazy. You are insane or you’re not, there’s nothing in between,” she said. “And people don’t see mental health as something that’s curable or sometimes it can go severe that a person experiences schizophrenia or bipolar, that you need to have medication.”

Olad also wants to use the lessons learned from Somalia to help post-conflict countries around the world. She is hoping to pursue a fellowship at the Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation at George Mason University to develop a guidebook on how mental health can be used for peace-building in post-conflict societies.

Also Read- 3 Reasons why you Should Intern With an NGO

“This guide will be used by all the countries that have experienced war,” she said. “So I’m hoping if we get academic institutions supporting this [it can] have an influence on the policy level of the organizations and the government institutions.” (VOA)

Next Story

Here’s a Healthy Diet for Your Liver

Detox Diet for Liver Cleansing

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It is important to follow a healthy diet to prevent liver damage. Pixabay

Your liver is the second largest organ in the human body with a complex structure and function. It plays a vital role in your digestive system. It processes all the food and liquid intake in the body, including medication. Therefore, it is impossible to survive without the functioning of the liver.

Being a multi-functionary organ, the liver is prone to viruses, toxic substances and contaminants present in food and water. Even when the liver is under siege, it is slow to complain as it is a tough, hardy part of our body. Dr. Namita Nadar, Head Nutritionist, Fortis Hospital Noida shares a diet which is beneficial for liver cleansing.

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Liver problems generally remain unknown to patients, as they will experience few or no symptoms. According to a report by WHO, liver diseases are the 10th most common cause of deaths in India. The most common causes of liver diseases are obesity, excessive alcohol consumption and hepatitis viruses. While there have been major advances in medical research, there is still no complete cure for liver diseases. Only way to cure a liver is through a liver transplant. Therefore, it is necessary to make healthy lifestyle choices to prevent liver damage.

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Walnuts are considered to be healthy for your liver. Pixabay

Detox Diet for Liver Cleansing

  • Eat food like garlic, grapefruit, carrot, green leafy vegetables, apple and walnuts
  • Walnuts are a source of glutathione, omega-3 fatty acids, and the amino acid arginine, supporting normal liver cleansing actions, especially when detoxifying ammonia.
  • Consume olive oil, lime juice, green tea and turmeric.

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  • Turmeric, which has been used as a medicine in Ayurveda for centuries, is rich in
  • Curcumin. The component helps the enzymes to flush out toxins, repairing liver cells. It also boosts bile production.
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Have a balanced diet with foods from all the food groups. Pixabay
  • Increase intake of alternative grains (Quinoa, Millet and Buckwheat) and cruciferous vegetables (Cabbage, Broccoli, Kale and Cauliflower). Such foods contain glutathione, which triggers the toxin cleansing enzymes of the liver.
  • Have a balanced diet with foods from all the food groups: grains, protein, dairy products, fruits, vegetables and fats
  • Eat foods that are rich in fibres such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, rice and cereals. Beets, a natural cleanser for digestive system, contain a healthy dose of fibre. It can break down toxic wastes to facilitate excretion. It also stimulates bile flow and boost enzymatic activity.

Also Read- Ways to Develop Leadership in Children

  • Tea is beneficial for a healthy liver. This may be down to a compound named catechin.
  • The antioxidant helps improve liver enzyme level, reduces oxidative stress and fat deposits in the liver. Green tea is packed full of this plant antioxidant.
  • Citrus fruits synthesize toxic materials into substances that can be absorbed by water.
  • Grapefruit is particularly beneficial as it contains two primary antioxidants: naringin and naringenin. (IANS)