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Tonga Disabilities Association believes mental health institution needed

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 19/02/2020

The Social Protection and Disability Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is hoping an institution will be established in Tonga to look after people with mental health problems. That was the aim of a one-day workshop held yesterday conducted by the Pacific Disability Forum.

Rhema Misa from the Tonga Disabilities Association says, the concern is because there have been various associations set up for those with impaired vision and other disability-related problems however, there is no association in Tonga for those with mental health issues.

Misa adds, they are hopeful the new association will address the stigma that surrounds people with mental health problems in Tonga.

Attending the workshop were representatives from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, representatives from various disability organizations in Tonga and others where Misa hopes after the workshop, they would be able to offer psychological and social support to those living with disabilities especially those with mental health issues.

Misa understands that most of those with mental health problems in Tonga are taken care of at the psychiatric ward at Vaiola Hospital under the care of Dr. Mapa Puloka but they are hoping the new institution will be able to accommodate their individual needs.

There are about a thousand people in Tonga who have mental health problems, according to Rhema Misa and therefore, there is an urgent need for an institution to address this.

© Radio and Television Tonga News