By ANDILE TSHUMA

MEN are at the top of the list for mental health patient admissions at Ingutsheni Central Hospital, at 75 percent of the total cases at the country’s biggest referral hospital for such conditions.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Ingutsheni Hospital clinical director Wellington Ranga said men who get admitted at the hospital presented multiple mental health conditions.

“At any given time, generally we have around 600 patients and you will find that the distribution is always around 450 beds being taken by males, while 150 beds are taken by females.

“This is a trend that has been going on for a while even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, and it should not be normalised.

“There should be a trigger or a reason that is contributing to us having so many male patients being admitted here,” Ranga said.

He addes that communities had the responsibility to normalise the issue of encouraging men to seek mental related health services without stigmatisation.

“Health and wellness is a socio-cultural, physical and economic issue. The social aspect is very important.

“We must make our societies safe and pleasant for men also, so that they seek health services for issues such as depression and stress without feeling shame or pressure to be strong.

“Society exerts pressure that results in men bottling up issues until it is too late and they need to be hospitalised,” Ranga said further.

Meanwhile, Men’s Conference executive director Makhosi Sibanda said fewer programmes were available for men to deal with issues that affected them.

“We need our communities to have a paradigm shift and accept that men can be victims of different life circumstances and that they can need help too.

“So much pressure has been put on men to be strong and not show their vulnerability and this results in some men breaking down and needing institutional care, yet if we had communities that promoted help and health seeking behaviour that could be avoided,” he said. – Daily News