health department under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare recently
organized a day’s sensitization forum on World Mental Health Day.
Speaking at the forum held at CIAM in Kanifing, Momodou K. Cham, executive Director of CIAM, said depression was the leading cause of disability throughout the world and was especially prevalent among low-income African countries, where 75% of the people who suffer from mental illness do not have easy access to the mental healthcare.
Mr Cham added that the WHO comprehensive mental health action plan for 2013 to 2020 outlines targets for member countries, which include updating existing mental health policies and laws, integrating mental healthcare into community-based setting, and strengthening evidence-based research.
According to Cham, one major concern of the plan was the limited research in mental care in the sub-Saharan region. However, he added that studies have shown that the absence of mental health treatment doesn’t mean there was a lack of need for it.
Bakary Sonko, mental health program manager, in his presentation, said Stress is an unpleasant state of emotional and physiological arousal that people experience in situations that they perceive as dangerous or threatening to their well-being.
He noted that Stress is a common experience.
“We may feel stress when we are very busy, have important deadlines to meet, or have too little time to finish all of our tasks. Often people experience stress because of problems at work or in social relationships,” he said.
He explained that the circumstances that cause stress are called stressors. Stressors vary in severity and duration.
He noted that the responsibility of caring for a sick parent may be an ongoing source of major stress, whereas getting stuck in a traffic jam may cause mild, short-term stress.
According to Sonko, the effects of stress include when a person appraises an event as stressful, while the body undergoes a number of changes that heighten physiological and emotional arousal.