The United Nations Association of Ghana (UNA-GH), an affiliate of the World Federation of United Nations Associations, has called for intensified advocacy and education on mental health and its related disorders at home, schools, churches, and mosques.
The Association, in commemorating the UN Mental Health Day, also called for more mental health centers in communities and hospitals to help detect early signs of mental disorders and possibly correct them on time.
The Association, in a press release issued to the Ghana News Agency, called on governments to provide legal frameworks and stiffer punishments for those who stigmatised people leaving with mental disorders.
It said it would encourage early check-up, treatments and integration back into society by citizens whose strong anxiety and fear was to be mocked.
The Mental Health Day, since 1992, has been observed on October 10, every year, and this year’s was on the theme: “Mental Health is a Reality”.
The release said the human body consisted of the body, mind and spirit, which were intertwined and inseparable for smooth anatomical function of the whole human parts, adding that they could not be disintegrated by any stretch of human ingenuity and imagination.
It said mental health was within the confines of the UN Sustainable Development Goals Three which referred to good health and wellbeing for all at all ages, which included Mental Health agenda.
“Unfortunately, we rarely talk about mental health, it’s causes and consequential effect on individuals, and economies of nations at home, schools, churches, mosques and public places,” it said.
“Additionally, we observed low budgetary supports from successive governments…..in training of more mental health professionals and supply of adequate drugs for treatments, proper feeding support systems and rehabilitation of mental health facilities for those already leaving with mental illness and stigma.”
The release said data suggested that about 13 million people live with mental health disorders in Ghana alone out of a 30 million plus population, and further buttressed the fact that everyone was at any given stage a potential mental health victim to say the least.
It called on NGOs, traditional authorities, the clergy, and philanthropists to support government to increase budgetary allocation to heath institutions responsible for mental health.
It urged stakeholders to embark on projects such as recreational parks to ease loneliness, establish social welfare schemes, provide easy access to credits, and create employment avenues for the teeming youth to reduce mental stress.
“Mental health is a reality and collective responsibility for everyone, everywhere. The time for action cannot be postponed for our next generation, it is now or never,” the release said.