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Where Are Our Mental Health Experts?

I went on Google to look for psychologists in Harare. Guess what...I could not find a psychologist online in Zimbabwe.

With time comes progress, and I’m no longer semi-diagnosed but fully diagnosed with ADHD. Unquestionably so. But now I have to tell you details about how I found my psychologist.

Since we’re in the middle of a pandemic I didn’t want to risk walking into a health institution with no pressing health issues because I would need a referral from my general practitioner, which would mean moving from one place to another. Yeah… that’s not happening in this pandemic for me.

So I went on Google to look for psychologists in Harare. I came up with a few finds, the only one of real significance being a top psychologist in the country. When I tried calling their number and asked if this was “Dr So and So’s Office” and I received a “Handisi ring veduwe!” (That’s not me, dammit!) That’s the point that I realized that the number on the website did not belong to the Dr. So I kept looking and came up with counselors who are qualified counselors but when it comes to more intricate mental health issues such as ADHD one needs a fully qualified and experienced professional psychologist or psychiatrist. And not only that one that had worked with a considerable number of patients before you. I only found mostly social workers.

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After that I gave up and went to psychology.com where you can find internationally recognized psychologists near you. They don’t have a section for psychologists in Zimbabwe but for South Africa. I had a list of over hundred different psychologists who could help me with ADHD. I contacted three different ones that I felt suited my needs. Two of them said they needed to do in person sessions to do a diagnosis, but one agreed to a Zoom session. That’s how my therapist became my therapist.

She took me over the internationally recognized test for ADHD and was able to ascertain things and also recognize other things I should be paying attention to that she noticed as I talked to her.

What bothers me is that I could not find a psychologist online in Zimbabwe. One may think that that’s because we’re not active online, but that’s not the case. I can find hundreds of general practitioners online as well as dentists, gynaecologists, eye surgeons online. In fact the mental health services that constant came up were the Christian Counseling Centre and Friendship Bench(both which are excellent counseling centers but no place for those seeking professional treatment). Both which informed me are not qualified to deal with things such as ADHD.

Mental health seems to be the new black in Zimbabwe at the moment, but that’s the issue when things are a trend and not taken with enough seriousness. People need fully qualified individuals and members of the neurodiverse community to properly deal with issues and share information rather than those getting excited at the prospect of getting funded for jumping on the latest trend.

It might seem like it’s spreading awareness but ultimately mental health can be a very intense issue that requires high qualified help. My current therapist holds a Ph.D and has done hundreds of cases similar to mine and recommended Brain Recursive Therapy to help me manage my life. It’s not enough to just be have a degree but properly trained psychologists will have worked under someone else for a certain amount of hours before starting their own practice just like a doctor needs to do in order to gain experience.

I suppose the real thing that I’m getting to is. Psychologists, where are you? We need you more than ever before.

Tanatswa Taruvinga

Tanatswa Taruvinga is a quintessential Gen Zer. She doesn’t like to define herself, she just is, so if you really want to get to know her follow her on Twitter and Instagram @tanatswaforever. She tries to be as real and unfiltered as possible. Also, check out her creative blog wotsonyourmind.wordpress.com

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