Let’s show care to our mentally-ill patients!

Mar 17, 2022, 12:55 PM

Mental health problems are a growing issue in many cities across Africa. Studies have shown that in 2015, 17·9 million years were lost to disability as a consequence of mental health problems. Such disorders were almost as important a cause of years lost to disability as were infectious and parasitic diseases, which accounted for 18·5 million years lost to disability.

According to the World Health Organisation, mental health, defined as “a state of well-being in which the individual copes with the usual stresses of family and community living” or as “fulfillment of each person’s potential” is at the heart of public health.

It is in the news that the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Gambia office last Tuesday handed over newly constructed and refurbished wards at Tanka Tanka Psychiatric facility to the Ministry of Health.

The move is not only laudable but goes to show the love and care the United Nations agency has towards people suffering from mental health problems.

During the presentation, IOM officials revealed that since January 2017 to December 2021, over 6600 migrants have returned to The Gambia, primarily from Libya and other countries.

Poorly managed return and reintegration have been recognised as a concern to peacebuilding. Researchers have concluded that young people in Africa are particularly at risk of mental disorders and healthcare systems are not well equipped to deal with them. Looking at the number of our youth involved in drugs and other illicit substance abuse leaves much to be desired.

Parents have a great role to play in the proper upbringing of their children.

The communities have a big role to play in reducing stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace. No one should suffer in silence with a condition that can be treated and even prevented in some cases. By acknowledging mental health and wellness issues at work, we can make a difference in our homes, schools, and communities as well. Seeking mental health care should be as routine and unremarkable as seeking treatment for high blood pressure, diabetes, or a heart condition.

Yes, we can reduce mental health inequity, a frequently ignored issue. Let’s show love and care to our mentally ill patients.

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