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05.09.2020 Editorial

Editorial: The Neglected Health Challenge

Editorial: The Neglected Health Challenge
LISTEN SEP 5, 2020

Mental health is a misunderstood challenge, one which requires immediate attention by the state and Ghanaians as a whole.

The repercussions of a continued neglect of this subject and ignorance about it can be costly.

Considering the fact that it is a treatable ailment, as a people, we should be blamed for allowing the effects of untreated mental health situations to fester.

Most Ghanaians hardly understand and appreciate the fact that mental health is an ailment which like other health challenges can affect anybody.

Unfortunately, because of ignorance when victims of the various forms of mental health start exhibiting symptoms these are ignored until something untoward happens.

The ignorance about the inroads science has made in both the diagnosis and treatment of mental diseases is a factor accounting for the non-patronage of psychiatric facilities for corrective measures.

Yesterday, news about a man killing his wife and also committing suicide made the headlines. Like others following a similar pattern it is possible that the underlying factor was psychiatric and, therefore, required intervention by a psychiatrist.

Unusual behaviours are hardly noticeable by family members or by partners in a marital union. Eventually, matters get to a head and the ultimate occurs in the form of homicide which is not rare in the country.

Mental health patients unlike those suffering from malaria and others do not go to the psychiatric hospital for attention perhaps because they do not find anything unusual about their state. They are usually taken there by family members or others when in most cases their conditions become serious. That is why it is important that all of us (members of the various communities) understand it when symptoms start manifesting so that we do what is expected of us timely.

The stigmatization of persons who have recovered from mental health ailments is a source of worry in our societies. This has been spoken about time without number yet it persists.

That acute headaches and even epilepsy are managed at psychiatric hospitals, but this is something many do not know and, therefore, do not avail themselves of such services when the need arises.

The decision by government to set up the Ghana Mental Health Authority (GMHA) is a step in the right direction.

For it to function effectively, we ask that appropriate budgetary allocation be extended to it so that this segment of health management does not suffer unduly.

Collaboration between the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) and the GMHA towards regular education of Ghanaians about mental health, how to determine it when it occurs, accessing psychiatric intervention and why stigmatization should be shunned will be worthwhile.

— Daily Guide

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