Media asked to project mental health issues positively

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 Accra, Oct. 10, GNA – Ghana on Wednesday joined other countries to observe the World Mental Health Day, which seeks to draw the attention of political and social players to the realities of mental disorders.

    The year’s observation, which is the 20th since its institution by the World Health Organization (WHO), focuses on the theme: “Depression: A Global Crisis”, and falls on October 10 each year.

    It also directs attention to the use of the mass media as a powerful tool in educating the populace through sustained attention on mental health, to ensure the provision of basic needs and human rights of persons with mental disorders.

    As part of activities earmarked for the day,  BasicNeeds-Ghana, a mental Health and Development advocacy organization and the Mental Health Society of Ghana, organized a walk.

       It started from the Obra Sport at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle to the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), where the group presented a joint petition to Mr Berifi Apenteng, Director-General of the GBC.

     The Reverend Agatha Triaty, spokesperson of the group,  who read the petition to the media, explained that the associations believed that being the State’s sole broadcaster with a nation-wide coverage, the GBC was best positioned to use audiovisual channels to increase coverage on education and information, to ensure quality mental health in the country.

     The petition also appealed to the media to present mental health issues in more dispassionate manner, and to promote such issues in a positive light, to prevent stereotyping and stigmatization of persons with mental disorders.

     Rev. Triaty said that mental and behavioral disorders were estimated to account for 12 per cent of the global burden of diseases.

      She said it was also estimated that 242,334 of Ghana’s population could be suffering from neuropsychiatry conditions and severe mental disorders.

     Rev. Triatry noted that although mental health upsurge was real, health services continued to lack human and financial resources in Ghana, and said the country needed more funding to promote mental health in order to increase public awareness on the issue.

     She said: “We are aware that in the last few years, the government and citizens of Ghana have become increasingly aware of the enormous burden and potential of mental health gains”.

        Rev. Triaty, said, however,  Government of Ghana funding for mental health had been low and unreliable as evident from records of government funding allocation to the various psychiatric hospitals over the last decade.

       Mr Bismark Peter Yaro, Executive Director, BasicNeeds-Ghana, called on public institutions and organizations to financially support measures aimed at providing quality mental health care in the country.

        He said depression was a common mental health disorder, prevalent among workers, and called for public-private participation in funding of mental health programmes.

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