MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS
One of AMHT’S goals for this year was to raise mental health awareness among the people of Arusha and its environs. Through the KAP Survey which was done in 2013, AMHT realized that many people have little understanding of mental health issues. This being the case, it was decided that we should vigorously raise awareness. One of the ways to raise this awareness was through live radio broadcasting.
Our social worker Mr. Niyimpaye Kataze did an excellent job; he visited different local radio stations in Arusha where he met with their directors to find a way forward. He communicated our desire to use live radio as a means of educating the population about common mental health issues. All five radio stations we approached showed a positive response and wanted to adopt the idea. However, four out of five radios approached were unable to offer us a free service. Since we have no budget for this project, we were unable to follow through with them. We are a donor funded organization and render our services free of charge thus depending on people’s good will to survive.
Happily though, Arusha One Radio FM (101.6 FM) were able to accommodate us with a free service. The owner and director of the radio was very supportive of the idea since he has personally known people who have benefitted from our services and continues to recommend people to us.
Arusha One Radio FM decided to allocate us 30 minutes free airtime every Thursday from 9.15 am to 9.45 am. We were given airtime on a popular Swahili “Makutano” (junction) programme lead by a popular young Radio host Ms. Jamila Kassim.
On the 13th of February 2014 we started this campaign by presenting different mental health issues affecting people each week. Niyimpaye Kataze, Boniface Kisi and Emmanuel Bujulu have been our key people delivering this service to the people of Arusha listening to Arusha One Radio FM.
Alcoholism, child abuse, drug abuse, depression, anxiety disorders, bed wetting, anger, autism, ADHD, sleep disorder, PTSD are some of the mental health issues which have presented. |Several listeners have responded by phoning in with a lot of relevant questions. The programme has attracted interest from many people not only in Arusha town but as far as Manyara region. Many of the questions are on anxiety disorders, sexual abuse, bed wetting, drug abuse and discipline versus punishment! One great advantage of this program “Makutano” is that it attracts the younger generation through the radiant radio host Ms. Jamila Kassim.
We are now witnessing people coming for help because they have heard us talking. Some of them are coming just for advice and some for assessment of their children. We will have an evaluation at the end of the year to see the effectiveness of this campaign.
We would be very happy to find a donor who can sponsor us to work with more radio stations to gain wider coverage for this exciting outreach.