Initiative Update

When I ponder on the pale Psychiatric services in my country; I wish people took better care of their mental health

Marie Abanga
Posted January 31, 2021 from Cameroon

I always relate with the expression: "If you think education is expensive try ignorance". And I will offer similar today to this amazing World Pulse community: " If you think your mental health is not important, try getting ill and coming to my country"!

This morning I left my home at 6 am sharp to bring my sister who was admitted recently at the Psychiatric ward, for a follow up consultation. We got here and let my write up below help you visualize the ordeal that awaits us:

#realitycheck what's the service to expect in a public Psychiatric unit with one psychiatrist for a population of I can't count? It's just 6:42 am and we met like 30 other books there. The shrink might come and say his cap for today is 30 and we will have to go home and come two days later or next week if that's the roster. And since it's a follow up consultation, if we don't get consulted today we'll have to pay to be seen next week. Now admitted I had worked here and can play small privilege fiddle, but what about those who don't know no one and are really sick but poor and can't afford private services? This is the reality in my city and although there are probably some missionary health units who provide Psychiatric services, it's much farther from me, and it was the best decision I could advice given the time, circumstances and resources available. Do I need to talk about the time the consultations will actually start and the service and etc? My sister brought her lunch knowing she might leave here this evening hahahahaha. I will try my best and leave the rest to God. Am currently standing in some corner for there are not even enough benches for the patients with one of them already broken (maybe the same one I left two years ago lol). I also hope rain didn't enter into the shrink's office if not that will have to be cleaned up first before he starts consulting hahahahaha (that's how I started my internship here). Can I say again #thereishope please ooooooo #mentalhealthmatters and prevention is always better than cure. I wouldn't scare further talking about the side effects of some psychotic and related medications administered here hahahahaha

How many people have you impacted since your last update?


Comments 5

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Hello, Marie,

Wow, one psychiatrist in your public hospital. That speaks volumes. I have been ruminating about how fast people respond and show up for people when someone says, "I have cancer (or another chronic illness)", and yet dismiss the confession of someone who confesses, " I have depression (or other mental health challenges)". Is this how ignorant we still are about invisible illness? Like you said, "prevention is better than cure". But how can mental illness be prevented when the early signs of it are not taken seriously as stage 1 cancer?

You ask if there is hope. I commented in your previous post that "there is hope", but failed to elaborate. I am sharing a link of this video of a man who lived in the streets ( he used to be a teacher but he fell in love with another man who tricked him and used him, eventually he lost touch with reality and became a homeless beggar). Even when people saw him as a "crazy man", he brought delight to passer-bys because of his intelligence and positive outlook, so there were viral videos of him, and netizens are laughing at him, yet loving him at the same time. So they hand him food to eat when they chanced upon him in the streets.

But there was a man who battled in depression because of the pandemic (and you know what depression is like). He prayed to God to give him a purpose in life. He saw this homeless begar and he intentionally made him his friend. He talks to him, brings him to a store to eat with him, listens to his stories, but this beggar still lives in the street. He regularly visits him. He treats him with respect, and eventually earned his trust. Long story short, a religious institution with rehabilitation services took this beggar and explain to him that he will live there for a while. It was his first time to take a bath. Eventually, after a few months, he was restored to "normal" thinking, in short, he got better and better because people around him took care of him and respected him. In the video, he said, " the people here don't make fun of me. They care for me." I have to tell the story because there is no English translation, but I hope you watch his story.

It really made me cry to see his transformation. I'm sharing to give encouragement to you, dear.

I also acknowledge the sad fact that there are limited services in Cameroon. Your concern is valid, dear. You are doing enough for your sister. It shows how much you love her. May that love be so powerful that it can heal her. I'm praying for you and with you, dear. This too shall pass. Hugs.

Marie Abanga
Feb 06
Feb 06

Dear Kaye,

Thank you so so much. Oh my what a touching story. And yes am so inspired and Motivated and that's what I have really tried to do all along. Treat people with respect and leave their dignity intact. Show them I can relate even if to a milder degree, and advocate for better treatment of my 'tribe'.

Take super care of yourself and family

Love always

You're welcome, dear Marie. Yes, that's what you do, and I know things will get better for you and your loved ones. You are the best person to advocate for mental health. Keep stepping up! Please stay strong, blessed, and beautiful!
Feb 02
Feb 02

Dear Marie,
You have not left any stones unturned. You have all bases covered. And of coarse, it never feels like it's enough. But rest assured within yourself that you are doing all that you can do and more. The system is broken. It's broken throughout the world. In developed and under developed countries. It's the same scenario, right here in many parts of the USA. No, this doesn't make it better, or solve your difficulties. No one on WP can advise you. But we can stand with you. You are sincere and driven to solve this. It will take extreme effort, time and money. Meanwhile, the issues remain. You feel like you are between a rock and a hard place. You are. But having you as a sister, your sister is very fortunate. Because if anyone can solve her dilemma, you can. If anyone can figure out answers, you will. You are steadfast and determined. Because you are also affected. And this is the absolute trenches of your war, your battles, your cause. So don't give up. Do the best you can to make a difference for your sister and yourself, with what is available. Regroup when time permits and get some answers, create some energy for changes. You can do it warrior sister. Even if it's one small change at a time. Grains of sand create mountains.

Marie Abanga
Feb 06
Feb 06

Dear Warrior sister of mine,

THANK YOU is all I can muster to type through my tears.

I really appreciate you and am so grateful for WP.