The Second Edition of the Care and Action for Mental Health in Africa (CAMHA) sports event, has been held with a call to collectively use sports to achieve recovery for mental patients.
Mr Eben Akonnor Fianko, the Founder of CAMHA, who made the call in Accra on Thursday, said mental healthcare and support were often given less attention than physical ailments due to societal ignorance, which the whole world was guilty of.
“As we celebrate World Mental Health Day on October 10, every year, I suggest that, it is in the capacity of all of us, whether we are suffering from the effects of mental health problems or working to help those with mental health problems, come together through sports to achieve a common aim of their recovery and a return to normal life.
“It is important that leaders, citizens, families, friends and neighbours engage, encourage and empower individuals affected by these unfriendly illness … through sports as doing so will not only improve their psychical health, but also improve their social integration, behaviour change and self-confidence,” he said.
Mr Fianko said it was the primary goal of CAMHA to see stakeholders having this annual sporting events being included in the mental health care system in Ghana and on the African Continent.
“This will go a long way to improving the physical wellbeing of persons with mental health problems and as well as enhancing their recovery process.
“Evidence has shown that people with mental health problems have a high risk of cardio vascular diseases and diabetes so engaging them in sports and physical activities, at least 10 minutes a day, can reduce the risks of cardio vascular diseases and diabetes,” he said.
He, however, expressed worry at how the Mental Health Authority did not welcome CAMHA’s invitation of collaborating with them for this year’s sporting event adding that: “We believe and hope that in the future this will be embraced for a worthy goal to be achieved,” he said.
He, therefore, called for sufficient allocation of funds by government, adding that; “The provision of care and support by the healthcare profession should be seen as a responsibility and not a favour.”
He urged the public to offer hope, encouragement and support to persons with mental health problem.
“If we claim that the ethos of our religion is to love and support one another, then it is important to allow this to reflect in our behaviour and attitude towards mental healthcare,” he said.
Mr Alex Kissi, the Deputy Administrator of Pantang Psychiatric Hospital, encouraged the patients to use the opportunity given them to improve their physical wellbeing as well as enhance their recovery.
There was also a football and volleyball match under the theme: “Together for Mental Wellbeing,” between staff and patients of Pantang, Accra and Ankaful Psychiatric hospitals.
The annual event, dubbed: “Mental Health Sports for All of Us” aimed at improving and supporting mental healthcare in Ghana and Africa.
It was launched in 2016 to also provide training in continuous professional development for nurses, mental health professionals and mental healthcare service users.
World Mental Health Day is celebrated on October 10, each year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world.