The Mental Health Authority has launched the 2018 World Mental Health Week to create mental health awareness on children and adolescents in the country.
Recent statistics have proven that, half of all mental illnesses begin at the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated.
In a speech delieved by the WHO preventative to Ghana Dr. Owen Kaluwa at the launch under the theme “young people and mental health in a chanting world ” review that, harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs among adolescents is a major issue in many countries and can lead to risky behaviors such as unsafe sex or dangerous driving.
According to him, 10-20% of children and adolescents worldwide suffer from mental disorders. Depression is the third leading cause of mental illness and disability among adolescents globally, while suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 years old.
Dr. Kaluwa added that, mental health is the fundamental overall to health and for achieving of the sustainable development goals ,so therefore, WHO has developed tools to support parents, caregivers and teachers to build life skills of children and adolescents, to help them cope with everyday challenges.
“We recommend continuous training for primary health care workers to enable them detect and manage common mental health in community settings, and integration of mental health into primary health care is a priority for WHO”, he said.
The medical director of the Accra psychiatric hospital, Dr. Pinaman Appau stressed on the need to encourage continuous discussion around mental health issues instead of waiting till there are announced strikes.
According to her, government has failed to invest in the mental well-being of the youth, as her outfit lacks the necessary resources to render the service needed.
“If we want to prosper as a country, we must deal with mental health issues. We need to invest and get the funding needed to run operations. We would also appreciate if the NHIS adds mental health related issues to their list. In fact, there should be a deliberate intervention aimed at advocacy and behavioral change. There must also be a comprehensive response to the issues of mental health by government “.
Stating the activities put together for the week, Dr. Appau said, the activities were important because prevention of mental health related issues begins a better understanding of the subject matter.
“Today is the official launch of the event, it will be followed by a public lecture then on Saturday we will have a mental health walk and health screening at the Makola market. We have also arranged for some media sessions so we can interact with people. The authority also plans to visit some senior high schools to discuss mental health issues and the way forward. This event is not being recognized only in Ghana but in other countries, it is therefore important for us to utilize the opportunity,” she said.