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Ghana To Celebrate World Mental Health Day   
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Ghana will on Friday join the global community to celebrate the world mental health day, which is falls on October 10 each year.

The Day is set aside to create awareness on issues of psychosocial disabilities and for stakeholders to brainstorm on appropriate ways of dealing with mental health issues.

Mr Humphrey Kofie, Country Facilitator, Mental Health Leadership and Advocacy Programme lauded government for advancing the course of mental health in the country.

He, however, said government needs to take practical steps to contain widespread discrimination and stigma facing persons with schizophrenia for societal integration and preservation of their fundamental human rights.

This year, the World Federation of Mental Health has chosen to focus on Schizophrenia by adopting the theme: “Living with Schizophrenia”.

Mr Kofie observed that the theme is appropriate in view of the seriousness of schizophrenia as a psychological disorder affecting more than 21 million people worldwide.

“The annual celebration of this Day is significant due to the numerous and profound challenges that victims and care givers face on daily basis,” he said.

He expressed disappointment that issues about stigma, discrimination, inadequate resource allocation to mental health, and abuse amongst others continue to affect victims in Ghana.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), “Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder, characterised by profound disruptions in thinking, affecting language, perception, and the sense of self”.

Medical experts have identified psychotic experiences, such as hearing voices or delusions as signs of the disorder.

Although it could result in functional loss of capability to earn a livelihood, the condition is treatable and early intervention has proven positive, says WHO.

Mr Kofie noted that despite the fact that Schizophrenia could be treated, it has been observed that one in two people suffering from the condition receives care.

“With over 21 million people affected by the disorder worldwide, it is surprising at the level of tokenism within countries in terms of support available to victims and care givers,” he added.

Ghana is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability and is enjoined to enact appropriate laws and policies to ensure adequate health care to victims.

He said Mental Health Leadership and Advocacy Programme in Ghana in partnership with Mental Health Society of Ghana, which is a user-based organisation, made of victims and care givers therefore call on government to increase budgetary allocation to mental health care.

“It is one area of our health delivery that has not received the needed governmental support,” he said.

“Schizophrenia in itself does not constitute an insurmountable psychological challenge, it is the attitude of society towards victims and care givers as well as access to care that hinder the effective treatment of the disorder,” he added.
Source: GNA

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