Basic schools need counselling departments – Psychologist

Mr Ebenezer Tetteh Kpalam, a Clinical Psychologist has called for the establishment of school counselling departments in all basic schools to help deal with their numerous challenges.

Mr Kpalam speaking with the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Tema said schools that already had such departments must strengthen it to provide psychological help to children.

He said a lot of children were depressed and faced with anxiety disorders that needed attention through the counselling department as the children do not have the words to fully express their mental health challenges and would therefore need trained persons to unravel it both at school and home.

He explained that depression and anxiety were becoming high among children as most of them were stressed up due to the socio-economic challenges their parents faced in their quest to improve their standards of living.

He said some parents had adopted the habit of enrolling their babies in boarding schools and coupled with other factors such as late sleeping, and leaving the children to fend for themselves, while parents were at work, ended up depressing the children.

Children, he noted had more questions unanswered by parents and care-givers making them unsure of issues and resulting in anxiety.

The Clinical Psychologist also called for capacity building for teachers to enable them identify manifestations of mental health related issues such as attention deficit among the children they teach.

“Because the teachers do not have any idea on how to pick-up such issues among their learners, they refer children who need help as children who misbehaves, for instance they refer to children suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as naughty,” he said.

He also called for the education for children service teachers in churches as they also meet children on regular basis and could help identify early such mental illnesses for treatment to prevent them from having a mental breakdown when grown.

Source: GNA

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