650,000 People Living in Ghana Are Suffering From Severe Mental Disorders – Psychological Association

650,000 People Living in Ghana Are Suffering From Severe Mental Disorders – Psychological Association

Rev. Bro. Aaron Prosper Kuubagr, a Catholic Religious who is the Northern Regional Representative of the Ghana Psychological Association (GPA) has indicated that 650,000 of the about 30 million people living in Ghana are suffering from severe mental disorder.

According to him, data from the World Health Organisation also indicates that 2,166,000 others are also suffering from moderate to mild mental disorders.

Bro. Kuubagr who is a Religious of the Order of St. Augustine, stated this in an address at the Northern Regional launch of the maiden Ghana Psychology Week Celebration in Tamale, on August 10, 2020.

Describing the data as alarming, he encouraged Ghanaians to take steps towards their mental and psychological wellbeing "as our daily lives are filled with stressors, cautioning that failure to manage stressors could lead to illness and mental disorders."

Members of the Northern Region chapter of GPA

He explained that doing an introspection, learning coping techniques, and seeking help, were ways to ensuring our mental wellbeing.

“The GPA is aware levels of anxiety, fear, isolation, social and physical distancing, restrictions, uncertainty and emotional distress have become widespread as the world struggles to bring the coronavirus under control” he noted.

Hence, the GPA therefore called on all certified practitioners to consider providing psychological services to people who might be feeling stressed, overwhelmed or distressed, he added.

Bro. Kuubagr lamented that the pandemic arose against the backdrop of an already dire mental health landscape that has witnessed mental health conditions on the rise across the globe.

He said failure to collectively address mental health disorders could cost the global economy up to USD 16 trillion between 2010 and 2030, according to a 2018 World Economic Forum report.

He stressed that mental health and psychological wellbeing is a human right, adding, “It is time this is available for all and that quality, accessible primary health care is the foundation for universal health coverage which is urgently required as the world grapples with this global health emergency”.

“We, therefore, need to make psychological wellbeing a reality for all – for everyone, everywhere”, he again added.

He, however, expressed optimism that this call to action would be strengthened through alliances, collaboration and partnerships to ensure that investment in psychological well-being is prioritized particularly during this global health emergency and thereafter.

The Ghana Psychology Week Celebration is on the theme: “Making psychology relevant to the Ghanaian, before, during and after Covid-19”.

Forty-two participants made up of Psychologists, Counsellors, Nurses and other health workers, attended the launch at the conference room at the old block of the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH).

Mr. Daniel Acquah, a Clinical Psychologist at the TTH took participants through basic training in psychological service. He advised them to always pay strict attention to ethics, reminding them that carelessness regarding issues of ethics can lead to serious consequences, adding that ignorance is no defence.

He stated that respect for ethics separate professional Counsellors from lay ones.

Head of the Guidance and Counselling Unit at the University for Development Studies (UDS), Dr. Amos Alale, in a solidarity message, said psychology can contribute to national development in terms of job analysis, policy and administration, lamenting that political actors and the public have been unaware of this all this while.

He, therefore, expressed hope that through the celebration, the benefits of psychology would be brought to the fore.

Similar messages were given by Dr. Edward Abasimi, a Lecturer at the UDS, Assistant Superintendent of Immigration, Madam Rafiatu Mohammed of the Ghana Immigration Service, Tamale, Chief Superintendent of Prisons, Mr. Divine Kwame of the Tamale Central Prison and Mr. Peter Claver Bobrtaa of the Directorate of Nursing Services, TTH.

In his remarks, Dr. Mustapha Alhassan, a Senior Lecturer and Head of Department of the Behavioural Sciences of the School of Allied Health Sciences at the UDS, who chaired the function, expressed gratitude to participants for attending and also the Clinical Psychology Unit of the TTH for their role the celebration.

Earlier, Mr. Peter Amadu Mintir, Head of the Clinical Psychology Unit at the TTH who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Total Life Enhancement Centre (TOLEC), a Tamale-based psychological and mental health non-governmental organisation, had welcomed participants.

He said the GPA has been in existence for some years now but has been working on the quiet, stressing that it was important to let the public know the role psychology can play to alleviate the effects of Covid-19.

The Ghana Psychology Week which is being celebrated throughout the country is to increase public awareness about how psychology can be used to help people live healthy, happier and more meaningful lives, among others. The Tamale launch was organised by the northern region branch of the GPA in partnership with the Clinical Psychology Unit and TOLEC.

During the August 10 to 16 Week celebration, members of the GPA in the Northern region are expected to engage the management and staff of the St. Lucy polyclinic in Tamale, embark on sensitization on some radio and TV stations and organise free psychological screening for the public, among other activities.

 

Source: Francis E. Monnie//Newswatchgh.com

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