May 7, 2012, 2:21 PM
Experts say we all have the potential for suffering from mental health problems, no matter how old we are, whether we are male or female, rich or poor, or whatever ethnic group we belong to.
It is, therefore, essential to give maximum care, love and support to people living with mental disorder.
Mental health can affect one’s daily life, relationships and even people’s physical health and well-being.
World Mental Health Day which is celebrated every October 10 is also observed here in The Gambia to raise public awareness about mental health issues.
The day promotes open discussion of mental disorders, and investment in prevention, promotion and treatment services. This year’s theme for the day is: “Depression: A Global Crisis”.
According to WHO, depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages, in all communities, and is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease.
The UN agency further states that although there are known effective treatments for depression, access to treatment is a problem in most countries, and that in some countries fewer than 10% of those who need it receive such treatment.
Everyone feels worried, anxious, sad or stressed sometimes. But with a mental illness, these feelings do not go away and are severe enough to interfere with your daily life.
It can make it hard to meet and keep friends, hold a job or enjoy your life.
There is a real need to deal with mental health problems of people with chronic physical illnesses, and physical care of mental health consumers through a continued and integrated care.
One of the major problems confronting the mentally ill people is that, the moment they become mentally ill, some of them are faced with discrimination and are even stigmatized.
The necessary attention needed is often not offered to them and, as a result, this can worsen the sickness.
Mental health should be high on government’s agenda with an adequate budget put in place to address the plight of the mental ill. We should all care for the mentally ill.