VIVAT Health Solutions group managing director Thembelihle Mloyi-Ncube says there is need to involve men in health-conscious programmes on the back of a spike in mental health-related cases in the country.
According to statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 280 million people in the world suffer from depression and more than 700 000 people commit suicide every year.
Mloyi-Ncube made the remarks on Friday when Vivat Health Solutions and its partners rolled out free primary health services to men in Bulawayo.
“For a long time, advocacy for women's empowerment has been at the forefront of people’s minds and it’s high time we focus on men who are leaders in families.
“When it comes to the issues of health, I have realised that it’s now remiss to leave out men since most households still have men as breadwinners yet they are not taking care of themselves,” Mloyi-Ncube said.
She said men were too busy trying to fend for their families and end up being forgotten in the process.
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“The idea is to encourage men to take care of themselves either from a religious or a societal perspective. We are changing mindsets and societal norms that portray men as in control of everything. “We need to break those self-destructive norms because at the end of the day, we, at some point, are all patients,” she said.
Mushandirapamwe Sober Buddy programmes manager Tendai Daka said men needed to be of sober habits to effectively deal with difficult issues.
Mushandirapamwe Sober Buddy provides drug addiction treatment and mental health support.
“Men resort to the bottle when things go south. This is why we can’t solve issues and instead, escalate the situations. We need to face real-life situations head-on and steer clear of excessive drinking,” Daka said.
National University of Science and Technology spokesperson Thabani Mpofu said men needed to have dialogue on issues that haunt them.
“Men need to find time out of their busy schedules to congregate and discuss issues that affect us. Without having these dialogues, we will continue to have cases of depression and suicidal tendencies….," Mpofu said.
The event was attended by men from several organisations who received free prostate cancer screening and other health examinations.
Recently Vivat Health Solutions donated basic commodities to elderly people at Ekuphumuleni Geriatric Nursing Home in Bulawayo's Mzilikazi suburb.