Machete gangs: A mental health perspective

Zimbabwe has experienced so much traumatic events across generations.

Each generation has its own unique and fair share of trauma.

With a poor focus on mental health within our country, most people remain untreated and may become perpetrators of violence at family, community or national level.

Some of the common manifestations of poor mental health include substance abuse, suicide, depression and various forms of psychopathology.

The violent killings that have gripped our nation perpetrated by what have become known as machete gangs can at best be seen as a sign of grieving by a community in deep emotional turmoil.

Many events that the population of Zimbabwe have experienced may be described as horrific by onlookers.

However, we continue to push the notion of strength and resilience with no recourse in addressing these traumatic events.

Zimbabweans need conversations that can help them heal from a traumatic past which has not only manifested in violent killings, but also social hostility and mistrust among the population.

Grieving communities experience high levels of social inequality and social injustice as there is physical deterioration of the family unit and communities.

These are also characterised by lack of institutional support such as social services and appropriate policies, thereby creating conducive environments for delinquent behaviours.

Communities in grief place their individual members at risk of developing serious mental health challenges as explained below

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