Mental health problems are very sensitive in most African societies hence the need for education to create awareness and eliminate all forms of stigmatization.
In celebration of World Bipolar Day on Tuesday, March 30, the National Public Relations officer for Ghana Psychological Association, Joy Anima Debrah, reveals the poor state of health care for people with bipolar disorder in Ghana.
“Mental health illness affects millions of people in the world. Out of the 700 million people in the world, more than 45 million have bipolar disorders. In Ghana, there is a large gap in the treatment of bipolar disorder. The possibility of a bipolar patient not receiving good health care is high”.
In an interview on the Happy Morning Show (HMS) on Happy 98.9FM and e.TV Ghana, she explained that mental health illnesses are chronic and affect a patient’s cognitive responses to situations and perceptions about happenings around his or her environment.
She explained further that individuals with bipolar disorder usually have manifestations at the prime of their lives.
“Aside from it being a chronic illness, its onset is very early in a person’s life. It affects teenagers and people at the prime of adulthood, a period of time where people focus on building their relationships and networks with families and friends”.
Joy Anima Debrah also mentioned that although researchers have not arrived at the main cause of bipolar disorders, certain underlying factors have however been attributed to triggering the illness.
“Some risk factors that may trigger bipolar disorder maybe either biological and environmental factors. Environmental factors may be triggered by head injuries at a young age or even in one’s adulthood as well as trauma caused by an accident, stress, or in an overwhelming situation “.
She encouraged patients with mental illness to seek medical attention and professional counseling in order to manage the illness. She advised that families and friends of patients with mental illnesses to give more attention and social support.
“Although general hospitals do not treat such illnesses, referrals can be given to the psychiatric hospitals where such cases are attended to. There is also the need for professional counseling to enable patients build resilience and be able to control and reduce triggers. In order to prevent relapse or certain unfortunate events during an ‘episode’, there is the need for family and friends to be supportive by given attention to the intake of daily intake of medication by patients. Financial assistance and social support must be given them.”
Source: e.TV Ghana
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