IAC Member Associations & Organizations
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Additional Counselling Associations & Organizations
Namibian Counselling Association
Universities & Training Institutes
IAC Education Institute Members
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Additional Education Institutes
Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices & Centres
IAC Member Centres/Group Practices
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Additional Centres/Group Practices
Let’s Talk Psychologists
Bel Esprit Clinic
Philippi Trust Namibia
Wilderness Therapy Namibia
Background & Context
Although the Namibian context remains unclear regarding specific cultural traditions related to mental health, the country and its several cultural groups have a rich history, closely tied to oppression and struggle.
In Namibia, high prevalence of substance abuse and psychosocial distress, including suicidality and hopelessness, has been observed among Namibian adolescents. Additionally, high rates of HIV/AIDS and domestic violence may also be highly impactful on the psychological well-being of Namibians.
Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition
The current status on mental health in Namibia is far from being ideal. The number of mental health hospitals, the number of mental health professionals and the incidence of mental health problems is highly disproportionate. According to a research on mental health policy implementation in Namibia, mental health still receives low priority because of the limited directed to communicable and life threatening (Dhaka et al., 2017). This has resulted in lack of services, poor treatment and rehabilitation outcomes of individuals diagnosed with common mental disorders. Consequently, this leads to the of permanent or chronic pathologies.
However, the Namibian government has begun to undertake legislation intended to facilitate the registration of traditional healers as a means to prevent fraudulent practice. These practices are constructed in the contexts they intend to serve; as such, further research needs to be undertaken in order to conceptualise the nature and utility of traditional healing in Namibia.
In Namibia, mental health is a part of primary health care system. Actual treatment of severe mental disorders is not available at the primary level. Treatment is generally available at the hospital level, but follow-up of discharged psychiatric patients is done in all health care facilities. The manifestation of psychological problems in Namibia is further complicated by the paucity of available psychological services. The University of Namibia offers training in social work, clinical psychology and psychiatric nursing; however, the number of available psychological practitioners remains low (Bartholomew, 2016).
Challenges & Trends
The challenge that face by Namibia is integrating Western theories and cultural tradition. Integration is not an easy path and is not a question of merely overlapping types of treatment. Therefore, westernised training programmes in counselling in Namibia should continue or establish a tradition of appreciating the diverse understandings of mental health. Training should further encourage clinicians to develop means of identifying different etiological beliefs and convey empathy and understanding for those men and women who explain mental illness from non-Western orientations.
In addition, psychologists can further understand mental health by embracing the importance of social and kin relationships in Namibian cultural groups. Engaging communities and kin to make treatments more effective could encourage mental health care to extend beyond hospitals and academia, and instead involve communities while embracing concepts like ubuntu and ancestor reverence as philosophical world views pertinent to mental health.
Additional Information & References
For a deeper exploration of the counselling profession in the country, interested readers are recommended to read the following journal articles:
- Bartholomew, T. (2016). Mental Health in Namibia. Psychology And Developing Societies, 28(1), 101-125. https://doi.org/10.1177/0971333615622909
- Dhaka, P., Musese, A., Kaxuxuena, T., Bakare, K., & Janik, M. (2017). Mental Health Services in Namibia: Challenges and Prospects. International Journal Of Public Mental Health And Neurosciences, 4(1), 10-14.