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18.05.2007 General News

Childhood mental disorders to rise

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Childhood mental disorders will rise by over 50 per cent globally by 2020 to become one of the five common causes of morbidity, mortality and disability among children.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), mental health problems in children were becoming common with some of them experiencing depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic, post-traumatic stress phobias, attention deficit hyperactivity, eating disorders and manic depressive illness.

Mr. Joseph Osafo, a lecturer at the Psychology Department of the University of Ghana, said this on the second day of the Ghana Medical Association's Eighth Annual Public Lecture under the theme: “Home Environment and Health” in Accra.

The annual lecture was to provide a platform to enable stakeholders deliberate on issues that affect the environment and determine one's state of health.

Mr Osafo who spoke on the topic: “Psychological/Mental Environment for Growth” explained that the period from birth to the age of 12 years of every child was when many physical, emotional and intellectual changes occur.

The environment the child is born into either enhances normal growth or exposes the child to all possible developmental or mental health problems.

He said though the family was the first unit a child was born into to offer the needed support, “the increased stress and fracturing of the life today make it difficult for children to receive quality support in the home that count towards the development of health mental life”.

He mentioned other risk factors in the home that expose the growing child to mental problems as severe parental discord, parental depression, stressful life events, economic hardships and lack of parental attention.

He called for a mental health policy to address the developmental needs of Ghanaians and map out strategies to curb debilitating psychological factors that can disrupt health mental development of children.

Source: GNA

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