How many people say “I’m fine” that are really fine. Do you remember how many times you have said I’m fine that you are not? Now we say “cool”; are we really “cool”?
Do you constantly feel the presence of sadness, emptiness or being short-tempered; that are affecting your capacity to function. Are such feelings recurrent? How long have you been experiencing such feelings? Are you feeling delusional, do you hallucinate or experience disorganised thinking relating to your speech, or feeling grossly disorganised? Are you constantly in fear and feeling anxious? Have you been exposed to a traumatic or stressful event? Do you also experience sudden but recurrent unexpected panic attacks?
Mental health issues is not limited to just those who have unfortunately lost their minds and walk about on our streets looking dirty and hungry.
I am not a mental health practitioner and neither am I a psychiatrist or a psychologist but I want to draw your attention to issues of mental health.
The month of May has been set aside as Mental Health Awareness Month to create awareness and to mitigate stigmatization. #
Mental Health Awareness is represented by a green ribbon.
Since 1949, the month of May has been observed as Mental Health Month. The essence of the Mental Health Awareness Month is to fight stigma by educating the public and advocating for policies with the intention to help people with mental illness. This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is on the theme Kindness which will take place from 18th – 24th May, 2020. Activities for week will be released nearer to the time.
Most often mental health disorders go unnoticed and untreated due to the stigma attached to having a psychiatric disorder. People from our part of the world hardly visit mental health facilities or seek psychiatric or psychological help. This is due to the negative social responses to mental health issues. Researchers such as Dzokoto et al. (2018) and Adinkra (2015) attributed the social stigma attached to mental disorders to be cultural practices and beliefs, and crediting it witches manipulation, evil spirits and other demonic forces.
In addition, people with mental disorders are also afraid to accept they need help because of the possibility of their close relations shunning them and the fear of losing social connections.
Poor mental health and stress affects many employees but it is most often hidden at work which can negatively affect work output. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), mental health issues in the workplace has serious consequences not only for the individual but also for the productivity of the institution. Employees’ mental health status affect performance, rate of illness absenteeism, accidents and staff turnover.
It is noted that workplaces that promote mental health and support people with mental disorders are more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and benefit from associated economic gains.
It is worthy of note that plans are far advanced with the Economic and Organised Crime Office first ever mental health discussion but for COVID-19.
Some of the common mental disorders are depression, anxiety and panic disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, substance abuse and addiction and eating disorders.
Mental Health Awareness Month is to break the walls of stigma. Do not be shy to share your experiences. Remember self-awareness is therapy on its own.
Let us all show kindness to those with mental disorders. One act of kindness can help improve emotional wellbeing of others.
Dzokoto, V; Barnett, C; Osei-Tutu, A; & Briggs, A. (2018). Mental health reportage in Ghanaian newspaper between 2000 and 2015: A qualitative analysis. International Journal of Mental Health. Vol. 47, No. 3, 192-214. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207411.2018.1488557
Mental Health Foundation. https://www.mentalhealthorg.uk/green.ribbon.campaign/faqs
Source: Public Affairs Unit Desk