By Roberta Gayode Modin
The world is yet to mark another World Mental Health Day under the theme “Mental is a universal human right” on October 10, 2023 to improve knowledge, raise awareness and drive actions that promote and protect everyone’s mental health.
In Ghana, events like this are a big deal because the country is inching towards a looming psychological crisis making mental healthcare important to its populace.
Minister for Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, told Parliament in 2021 that 41 per cent of Ghanaians have psychological distress – mild, moderate, severe – and this costs the nation 7 percent GDP loss.
Another data by the World Health Organization in 2021 shows that estimated 3.1 million Ghanaians, representing 10 percent of the estimated 31 million population of Ghana, have one form of mental disorder or another, with 16,000 having severe cases.
First and foremost, it’s vital to understand that mental health is closely interconnected with physical health. Neglecting your mental health can have adverse effects on your physical health and vice versa. Chronic stress, anxiety, or depression can contribute to various physical health issues like heart disease, weakened immune system, and more. Prioritizing mental health care can help maintain a balance between your mind and body.
Good mental health contributes significantly to an improved quality of life. When you take care of your mental well-being, you’re more likely to experience happiness, contentment, and resilience in the face of life’s challenges. Mental health care equips you with the tools to cope with stress, build healthy relationships, and find satisfaction in your daily life.
Individuals with sound mental health tend to be more productive and creative. They can concentrate better, solve problems efficiently, and think innovatively. Mental health care fosters the conditions for intellectual growth and professional success.
Maintaining good mental health can have a positive impact on your relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. It helps you communicate effectively, empathize with others, and build stronger connections. By prioritizing your mental well-being, you contribute to nurturing healthier and more fulfilling relationships.
Promoting mental health care contributes to reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues. When people openly discuss their mental health challenges and seek support, it normalizes the conversation and encourages others to do the same. This, in turn, creates a more compassionate and understanding society.
Mental health care involves early intervention and prevention of more severe issues. Identifying and addressing mental health concerns at an early stage can prevent them from escalating into more significant challenges that are harder to manage.
Ultimately, a society that values mental health care is healthier and more resilient. It fosters a sense of community, empathy, and support. When individuals prioritize their mental health, it contributes to the collective well-being of society as a whole.
The importance of mental health care cannot be overstated. It’s an investment in your overall well-being, relationships, and the betterment of society. Just as you take care of your physical health, make a commitment to nurture your mental health. Reach out for support when needed, engage in self-care practices, and encourage open conversations about mental health. By doing so, you not only enhance your own life but also contribute to a world that values and prioritizes mental well-being.