World Mental Health Day



10TH OCTOBER, 2022

Annually, Ghana loses about 7% ($5billion) of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to mental disorders, according to Ghana’s Mental Health Authority. Globally, each year, mental disorders such as anxiety and depression costs the global economy more than $1 trillion in lost productivity. With a staggering number of more than 900million people worldwide and 3.1million Ghanaians suffering from some form of mental illness according to World Health Organization, the need for global action to improve mental healthcare across the globe needs a second major look, and an intense and consistent global action.

Furthermore, more than 8million deaths per annum globally can be attributed to mental disorders. This is a pandemic really, because in every part of the world, there is a rising number of cases of mental disorders, especially in low income countries. Mental health-related issues are usually underestimated and neglected, with mental healthcare underfunded in many countries. A mental disorder, such as depression accounts for more than 80% of deaths by suicide, with over 700,000 people dying by suicide every year, 1 person every 40 seconds. Suicide is the 4th leading cause of death amongst 15-19-year-olds, with majority of them suffering from some form of mental disorder.

Notwithstanding, many mental health professionals across the globe, including dedicated professionals in Ghana, are breaking barriers and making giant strides in creating awareness and promoting mental healthcare in various parts of the world, across various difficult terrains. To consistently create such awareness, every year, 10th October is dedicated for such purpose globally. This year 2022, the theme for the World Mental Health Day is, “make mental health for all a global priority”. It is expected that the celebration of the day across the globe will ignite a unified resolve to improve on mental healthcare in every country, for every person on the globe.

In Ghana, various mental health organizations and facilities will commemorate the day including the Ghana Psychological Association. With its members spread across the country and some parts of the world, through individual and collective efforts, messages on mental health will be broadcasted across all media platforms.

Over the past years, since the inception of GPA in 1996, the association has been actively involved in empowering its members to develop skills necessary to providing mental healthcare for the
citizens of Ghana, including providing psychological interventions for communities and individuals affected by various disasters in the country. Through sound research, advocacy and active participation in various discourses in Ghana, GPA has influenced various policies which underscores the provision of quality and affordable mental healthcare in Ghana, including policy change on sensitive issues such as the criminalization of attempted suicide. With a good media presence on many platforms, GPA has shaped the discussion of various mental health issues, providing sound information on mental health issues. These efforts and the sacrifice of GPA members and other mental health organizations have yielded good results over the years, significantly contributing to national development.

The government of Ghana, over the years, through various efforts have expanded mental health services to many communities in Ghana. However, more needs to be done to close the treatment gap of 98%. More funds will have to be allocated to the training of more mental health professionals, and the expansion of mental health facilities to increase access to proper and affordable mental health care for every citizen. Again, the timely constitution of various boards governing the promotion of mental healthcare is essential to ensure the smooth implementation of various policies and plans needed to effectively run mental health-related programs. Laws on various mental health issues such as attempted suicide, funding for mental health care (including the inclusion of mental health treatments on National Health Insurance) would have to be reviewed and changes made to reflect current needs and perspectives.

On the occasion of the world mental health day, GPA encourages its members, citizens of Ghana, and people all over the world to join in the campaign to promote mental health. Persons living with a mental illness must be treated with respect and dignity, and must be provided with the needed mental healthcare they deserve. Stigmatization of people living with mental illness has no place in a modern world. We join hands and hearts with all other mental health organizations locally and globally to pledge our support in promoting proper and affordable mental healthcare across the globe.

Dr. Isaac Newman Arthur
GPA National Public Relations Officer

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