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Social, economic stress cause of mental illness in youth – Psychiatrist

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The Medical Director of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, Dr. Augustina Pinaman Appau, has stated that lifestyle choices, social and economic factors are largely responsible for mental disorders among the Ghanaian youth.

“Economic conditions of today put so much stress on our population and our youth are particularly affected.

“Young people are constantly battling the effects of human rights violations, war and violence in our homes, schools and workplaces, competing cultures from all around us through television and the internet, where they experience cyber-crimes, cyber-bullying. Triggers of serious mental illness such as economics and social stresses are staring at us in our very youthful years”.

Recent data from the Ghana Health Service has revealed that about 41 percent of Ghanaians have some form of psychological illness.

The data added that 32.4 percent live with a mental disease, while 13 percent of persons had mental disabilities.

Available data also indicates that the three main mental hospitals in Ghana receive more than one hundred thousand patients in a year with thirty thousand of them suffering from cannabis-induced conditions.

This means, more than 10 percent of the patients at these psychiatric hospitals namely Ankaful, Pantang and Accra, are due to the abuse of cannabis.

Dr. Appau, however suggested that creating counselling centres in all educational institutions could help secure the future of the youth from possible psychological disorders.

“We need to open up functional counselling centres in our institutions of learning and within the society generally. Considering the almost broken down extended family system we use to have, there is a need to institute community support systems, where everyone within the community is his brother’s keeper.

“This way we do away with the individualism that is crippling into our social fabric, and is getting the best of our youth and young people, pushing them into drug and alcohol use.”

This year’s world Mental Health Day was marked under the theme “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World.”

By: Ann-Shirley Ziwu/citinewsroom.com/Ghan

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