GBC Ghana Online

Prioritizing mental health among KNUST students

By Akosua Frema Frempong and Faustina Siaw

The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Counselling Centre is collaborating with Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies to prioritize the emotional, psychological and mental healthcare of students.

As part of the collaboration, the Counselling Centre is to launch a toll-free E-Counselling App to make it more accessible to students on campus.

The Head of the KNUST Counselling Centre, Mrs. Victoria De-graft Adjei announced that program is meant to address issues of mental Health among students in Kumasi.

The Resilient Minds Future Leaders Programme is being spearheaded by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson and Johnson to build the emotional resilience of students to enable them to perform to their full capability. Through the Resilient Minds Future Leaders programme, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson and Johnson will build the capacity of healthcare professionals to effectively identify and provide timely support for mental health conditions.

The Product Specialist for Neuroscience at the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, Mr. Emmanuel Asante Antwi said the ultimate goal of the programme is to reduce stigma, improve overall health and enhance the quality of life of students on campus.

“Through this programme Johnson and Johnson invaluable support to KNUST including capacity building for health care professionals and initiative to enhance early access to appropriate interventions and care for patients. Our Ultimate goal is to reduce stigma, improve overall health, and enhance the quality of life for all members of the university.

We are deeply grateful for this collaboration and partnership of KNUST in this endeavour. As we embark on this journey together, let us reaffirm our commitment to fostering a culture of understanding, compassion and support for mental health initiatives. By working hand in hand, we can empower future generations to lead healthier and more resilient lives” Mr Asante Antwi revealed.

Mrs Victoria Degraft Adjei

The Head of the KNUST Counselling Centre, Mrs. Victoria De-graft Adjei noted that annually, the Counselling Centre records more than two thousand cases of mental health challenges with varying conditions.

“We have what we call an Emotional Resilient podcast we do with the E-Learning centre where emotional resilient titbits are given to students weekly. Currently, we are working on finishing touches to the E-Counselling App, which very soon we will launch for every student to have access so, at the tip of your finger, you will get someone to help you. It is a toll-free App.

At the centre, we receive between 1800 and 2200 clients every year. Of this number, about 55 per cent are males while 45 per cent are females. Of this number too, 23 per cent go through psychological challenges including stress, depression and attempted suicide, Schizophrenia. We all have to accept that, we all go through mental challenges at a time depending on the issues. So the picture is that somebody at KNUST at a particular time or every day might be going through some challenges. Check your brother, be your brother’s keepers” she disclosed.

Prof. Sister Frances Emily Owusu Ansah

The Head of KNUST Department of Behavioural Sciences, Professor Sister Frances Emily Owusu Ansah expressed serious concern about the high prevalence of mental health among the youth.

“According to the WHO, there is quite a bit of percentage about 13 per cent of Ghanaians suffers from mental health issues. Mental health issues from mild to severe forms are more prevalent among the youth. So the youth is a critical group because 75 percent of youth report for the first time experiencing any form of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and other less serious mental health conditions. But with timely diagnosis and appropriate intervention, these can be treated and the persons who suffer them can be helped to leave a fulfilling life,” she indicated.

Mental health is not the absence of disease but a comprehensive well-being that encompasses all forms of well-being.

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