The Ministry of Health and the Mental Health Authority have launched this year’s Mental Health Week celebration in Accra on Monday.
The week celebration which is under the theme “Young people and Mental Health in a changing world” is expected to create awareness, generate discourse and prompt interventions that will improve the quality of Mental Health for young people.
The year’s celebration is focusing on the emerging factors in today’s world such as social media and economic pressures that expose young people to mental health challenges.
The country representative of the World Health Organization in Ghana, Dr. Owen Laws Kaluwa, in his address said, young people are more vulnerable and prone to the risks associated with online technologies, drug abuse and economic pressures in today’s changing world.
He described Mental Health as a primary healthcare which is “fundamental to overall health and fundamental to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals”
He therefore called on the Government, Policymakers and other Stakeholders to support parents, caregivers and teachers to be able to equip young people with the necessary skills that will help these young people cope with everyday challenges.
The director of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, Dr. Pinaman Appau, who officially launched the week long celebration, in her speech, emphasized the failure of the country to prioritize Mental Health, stating that, “Mental Health in Ghana still does not have a source of funding that will propel it to carry out all the beautifully proposed plans it has for the people, especially children and adolescents”.
She called for heavy investment in Mental Health and the concluding of the conversation on putting Mental Healthcare provision under the National Health Insurance Scheme in order to promote accessibility to Mental Health treatment.
Other civil societies present at the launch were MindFreedom Ghana(MFGh), BasicNeeds-Ghana and the Medical Journalists’ Association-Ghana(MJA-G).
BasicNeeds advocated for the provision of enough resources for the Mental Health Authority to help them operate efficiently, and also creation of counselling units in schools to promote mental well being.
The week long celebration will include activities like a public lecture on mental health, symposiums for students, a health walk, medical screening and an open house event at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital.