Mental illness still remains a taboo subject in many African countries, a situation that Pioneers UK missionaries are trying to overcome.
In the latest newsletter from the mission organisation, Pioneers highlighted the lifestyle of those in Cameroon suffering from mental illnesses and lack of medication.
According to one missionary, one woman, called Ita, had been left tied up outside her sister’s house, naked, incontinent and screaming. This was the only way villagers felt they could keep her and their own families safe, since it was widely held that Ita was suffering from possession by evil spirits. However, after a team from Pioneers ran a series of mental health training courses for village health workers, this helped change perceptions about mental illness. With the right course of medications and the care of local doctors, Ita has begun to live a normal life.
According to the newsletter: ‘Ita may or may not be a follower of Jesus yet, but the Baptist pastor goes to her village often. Now, because of the compassion and expertise of a group of health workers, Ita’s mind and spirit are calm enough to hear and understand the truth of God’s love for her. That is no small gift in her life’.