Mental Health Authority on Thursday, July 15, 2021, ended a successful two-day training programme for journalists in Accra on mental health literacy.
According to the authority, it recognizes the Ghanaian media as major significant partners in promoting knowledge about mental health and stimulating favourable attitudes towards persons with mental illness.
While it admits its partnership with the media over the years has helped to reduce the stigma and discrimination towards persons with mental illness and foster supportive attitudes towards the mental health system, the Ghana Mental Health Authority also notes that there are some areas that the media require further strengthening to achieve the role of promoting mental health literacy.
As a result, the authority set aside Wednesday and Thursday to train editors and reporters of selected media organisations.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the training, Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority, Dr. Akwasi Osei applauded the work of the media thus far.
He said he hopes after the training, reportage on issues of mental health will improve for the better.
“The media you have been doing very well but this is going to take the media a step further. Words for describing persons with mental illness will now change. You will not describe them as mad persons, lunatics, crazy, deranged. All those things will change so we are happy,” Dr. Akwasi Osei shared.
Having taken journalists through the overview of mental health on the final day of the training, Dr. Amma Ampomaa Boadu who is Deputy Director for Mental Health at the Ghana Health Service charge participants to desist from sensationalizing suicide stories.
Noting that detailing how a person takes his or her life in a story is not the best practice as it has the potential to inspire other people, she also indicated that journalists should be mindful of words they use when reporting on mental health matters.
“This is just the beginning of our engagement so that you will be able to help us do our work better,” Dr. Amma Boadu added.
Other experts that trained the media during this week’s programme include Africa University College of Communications Lecturer Mr. Nana S. Acheampong, Dr. Yaw Arthur, and Dr. Caroline Amissah, both with the Mental Health Authority.
The training was organised by the Mental Health Authority in collaboration with the Ama Ata Aidoo Centre for Creative Writing at the African University College of Communications (AUCC).
For help or any information regarding mental health issues, contact the Ghana Health Authority (MHA) through the following hotlines:
055-538-3056 – Ashanti Region
020-922-8954 – Brong Ahafo Region
024-425-5594 – Central Region
024-401-4348 – Eastern Region
024-424-9982 – Greater Accra Region
024-450-8838 – Northern Region
024-395-0520 – Upper West Region
020-639-4788 – Upper East Region
024-267-1862 – Volta Region
024-489-0019 – Western Region