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23.02.2020 Opinion

Who Are The Mentally Ill People In Society? Is It Only The Mad Men And Women On The Streets Or It Is More Than That?

By Ayerakwa Prince
Who Are The Mentally Ill People In Society? Is It Only The Mad Men And Women On The Streets Or It Is More Than That?
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Oftentimes, when we say people are mentally unhealthy, we begin to only think about the poor vagrant madmen and women on the street who usually use the waste dump as residents and beg for food. The hard truth is there are many men and women in suit, posh cars, mansions, etc who may be mentally unhealthy.

This article is written to demystify the perception people have concerning who is mentally healthy and who is not.

When we talk about mind, we basically refer to our capability to perceive, comprehend, think, judge, and remember-the intellectual and reasoning faculties.

Now pause for a moment and think. Think about all the people you know, who have rather strange perceptions of people around them, or about certain cultural and political ideologies. Think of the manager who barks incessantly at anyone at the slightest mistake and always wants to exercise the bossy at the workplace making it appear as if your life has no purpose and was not planned.

Also, think about the people who never want to end a quarrel, but to rant and escalate issues till the whole neighborhood gets to know. Think of the sycophants at the work place-the one who uses obsequious compliments to gain self-serving favor or advantage from another; usually by backbiting you.

Also, think about the people around you who need to be told everything twice before they understand you. Think about the people who either do not think at all (thoughtless ones) or who think too much.

Think about the people who make the wrong decisions even when facts are against their decision. And then think about the children at school who do not seem to remember anything and the housewife who looks for her specs while wearing them on her nose.

I do not intend to say all such people are mentally ill, but many of them are.

Not everyone can have the same level of mental faculties, but the aforementioned signs do show that these people are not in their optimum mental health. I know of so many people who are not seen as mad because they do not live at the dumping site, yet they are not healthy. I know a man who is a couch potato; he goes to his job and does nothing. All he does is to sleep or work lotto. I also know of a student who is a couch potato; she can sit the whole day watching telenovelas and forget her assignment.

I know a man who does not help his wife with family responsibilities. All he does is to show his manly behaviour as if marriage is a boxing ring. He behaves with her as if she is her servant.

When you go to many rural communities in Ghana, you would see a man returning from the farm with his wife. And you would see the woman carrying a heavy load of firewood with foodstuff, a baby strapped at her back and sometimes holding something in the hand usually a rubber they used to fetch water to the farm for drinking. On the contrary, you would see the man walking majestically, well relaxed and walking in front or at the back of his wife carrying and holding nothing.

Those people have not been declared as mad people. But would you say they are mentally healthy? Absolutely no. If they are, then they should be able to make good judgement regarding what is good and bad. Again, think of the man who is lazy at the workplace but fast to withdraw or ask of his salary immediately at the end of the month. Isn't it strange like the mad man who has a home but decides to stay at the dumping site?

I know many braggarts who talk about their achievement until everybody around them drops dead. He has no known diseases but would you call such a person as healthy? Absolutely, no because there are some mental deficiencies in his behaviour.

Think of the man who would want to count his money in front of a poor or a needy person; tell the poor the number of businesses he owns and how he has become successful without trying to help.

In fact, there are many people in society who are mentally unhealthy but do not see themselves as one.

On, 29th December 2019, I joined a sprinter bus from Takoradi to Asankrangwa. Midway the journey, the driver stopped and asked us to come out from the car and release stress or make ourselves comfortable.

To my outer dismay, we came to see the man in front smoking cigarettes. Everyone was mad at him. Me knowing that such a person if not mentally sick is not of his optimum mental health decided not to pass any caustic remarks against him.

There are a lot of absurdities and nuisances going on in the country. It's not weird to see people expectorating at food joint anyhow. Sometimes even on the streets if you are not careful, someone will remove phlegm and throw on you.

Imagine joining a queue since dawn and someone comes from nowhere and tries to be in front of you or to disorganize and create pandemonium. The issue is, since most of them cannot think and make good judgment with regards to what is good and bad, they are seen as mentally unhealthy people even though they have not been declared as such.

The fact is there are many people who are mentally ill but it does not show on the physical plane. A mentally healthy person must have a reasonable ability to make a judgment regarding good or bad, right or wrong. Anything less makes it a tragedy.

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