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Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

The Mental Health Authority is concerned about escalating cases among adolescents and women

By Vaseline May30,2024

The Mental Health Authority says there has been an escalation of mental health cases among adolescents in schools, impacting their academic performance, social interactions and overall quality of life.

Another area of ​​concern is increasing perinatal mental health, which concerns women’s psychological well-being during pregnancy, childbirth and up to a year after delivery.

Professor Pinamang Appau, the Chief Executive of the Authority, said research shows that almost 10 percent of teenagers in Ghana qualify for a psychiatric diagnosis with detrimental effects on their academic performance, social interactions and quality of life.

Speaking at a public forum on mental health in Kumasi, she said youth were increasingly experiencing depression, anxiety, substance abuse, behavioral addictions such as gambling and suicide attempts, which was worrying.

It has become increasingly clear that mothers’ mental health during pregnancy, birth and a year after birth played a crucial role in shaping the health outcomes of their children, especially in the areas of nutrition and overall growth.

Prof Appau said research over the past two decades has consistently highlighted the high prevalence of perinatal depression in Ghana, which reaches as high as 50.1 percent, with suicidal ideation among affected mothers ranging from 13 to 17 percent.

“This is sad. Our lives are full of ups and downs and experiencing difficulties in emotions, sad or anxious, and seeking help is a sign of strength and not weakness,” she said.

The forum, with the theme: “It’s okay!” was organized by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH).

She said it was important that everyone worked hard to destigmatize mental health issues and encourage those in need to seek help without shame, adding that the state of mental health in Ghana was an urgent issue that required collective responsibility and action required.

The Mental Health Authority had put systems in place to generate homegrown data and improve local research to effectively tackle mental health issues.

She took the opportunity to advocate for better service conditions for mental health professionals so that they can deliver quality services to their clients.

Dr. Ms Ruth Owusu-Antwi, Head of Psychiatry at KATH, said mental health problems are pervasive and affect people from all backgrounds and walks of life, and it is therefore important that people seek help early.

Dr. Ms Ruth Owusu-Antwi, Head of Psychiatry at KATH, said mental health problems are pervasive and affect people from all backgrounds and walks of life, and it is therefore important that people seek help early.

She noted that stress was the main risk factor for a nervous breakdown.

Research into the stress levels of Ghanaians showed that more than 40 percent of Ghanaians were moderately to severely stressed.

“We should therefore normalize seeking help at an early stage when someone sees signs of a nervous breakdown so that it does not become serious,” she advised.

Prof. Mrs. Rita Akosua Dickson, the Vice-Chancellor of KNUST, noted that help for mental health issues was readily available and called on Ghanaians to have bold conversations on the issue and avoid suffering in silence.

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