Mental health almost neglected in Ghana – NGO

Total Life Enhancement Centre, Ghana (TOLEC GH), a local Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) operating in the area of psychological and mental health advocacy in the Northern Region, has expressed worry on the insufficient awareness and support services available to members of the public.

It noted that the inaction had resulted in little understanding of mental health related challenges, adding that the practice had further resulted in stigma and discrimination of victims in society.

The NGO noted that mental health stress was prevalent among the youth, adversely affecting the country’s economic growth, adding, “there is a strong association between psychological stress and unemployment and among those working, and had accounted for substantial amount of loss of productivity”.

Mr Peter Mintir Amadu, Executive Director of TOLEC GH, expressed this sentiment at a psychological and mental health awareness creation stakeholders meeting in Tamale.

The meeting was to solicit inputs from schools’ guidance and counselling coordinators from selected SHSs in the Tamale Metropolis to help tackle issues of mental health among students.

It was also to equip participants with the knowledge on mental health challenges and encourage them to promote mental health awareness within their schools.

Mr Amadu called for policy review to make available the necessary resources and facilities to cater for mental health conditions in the country to produce a productive population.

He called for increased mental health awareness creation among members of the public by stakeholders to broaden their understanding of the phenomenon, to promote a stress-free living and improve upon mental health literacy among the citizenry.

The Executive Director disclosed that his outfit was set to implement the Mental Health Literacy and Counselling Services (MENTHALICS) project aimed at educating Senior High School (SHS) students on mental health and its related issues.

Mr Amadu said the project was aimed at advocating the need for providing counselling support services for students in schools.

According to him, it also looked at equipping guidance and counselling coordinators in schools and health professionals within the Northern Region with the necessary skills and knowledge to manage mental health challenges.

He said the project would focus on embarking on schools campaigns on mental health awareness, emotional management programme, counselling skills, and other health related activities.

He noted that mental and emotional problems were common among students and said such health related issues needed to be addressed just like their physical health problems.

He indicated that “the majority of our youth are in schools. That is why we are targeting them to create the awareness and give them the necessary support to manage mental health problems and emotional issues”.

Source: GNA

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