In DRC, mental health tested by endemic violence

It is the largest mental health center in Africa and The country devotes a long report. The Téléma mental health center, located in the Kintambo district of Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), serves more than 40,000 people a year, the Spanish newspaper indicates.

In this haven of peace in the middle of a troubled country, everything is done so that “the person who suffers from a mental illness recovers his dignity”. In addition to therapeutic work, Téléma works to reintegrate the patient into her family or a foster family.

The report thus describes the strong presence, “amazing” even of people visibly affected by mental illness on the streets of Kinshasa. The economic and political situation of the country can explain this generalized phenomenon: extreme poverty, massive exodus of the rural population to the cities, family disorganization, political insecurity linked to the various rebel movements, so many “circumstances that facilitate the development of mental disorders”, remember Iberian daily life.


To these material conditions are added “a background of ignorance, which becomes an ideal breeding ground for superstitions”.

a work of “sensitization” to mental pathology is also carried out by the Téléma center. why, detail The country, in the DRC, and more broadly in Africa, mental illness remains “stigmatized”. mental disorders”are attributed to witchcraft, and those who suffer from it are believed to be possessed by an evil spirit that can harm those close to them”.

As a dramatic consequence, the sick are sometimes chased away by their relatives, they wander the streets and are left in total abandonment”.lost gaze amid the indifference of the crowd”.

The fate of women is even more tragic. According to the survey ofThe country, mental illness affects women much more because of the structural violence against them that crosses all areas of their lives. Women bear a heavy family and professional burden, but also a complex social system, with an inextricable web of beliefs and customs. In a country where rape has become a weapon of war, for them it means repudiation and wandering the Congolese streets. As long as they have children, then the problem of the mother’s mental health is added to their survival.

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