The Christ The King Methodist Church Ghana has called for the strengthening of the extended family system and tightening of the social support structures to help address mental health conditions in the country.
The Very Reverend Isaac Kwame Ghartey, Superintendent Minister of the Anaji Estate Circuit, appealed to members of the extended family to avoid social neglect and support one another.
He made the call at a mental health awareness forum and screening exercise, organised by Christ The King Methodist Child and Youth Development Centre, a Compassion International-assisted project, in the Sekondi-Takoradi cluster.
It was in partnership with Empire FM and Radio 360 in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis.
The forum, which was on the theme: “The Role of the Church in Mental Health,” brought together experts in the field and stakeholders to elicit ways of addressing the mental health canker in the Ghanaian context.
Very Rev Ghartey said the Church was mandated to help in the fight against mental health, which was fast gaining ground in society.
The church owed it a sacred duty to intensify guidance and counselling sessions to address mental health issues.
He advised the public to stay out of worry and anxiety of things that they could not acquire or achieve and be content with what they had.
Reverend Mrs Angelina Ogyiri Asare, a Principal Clinical Health Psychologist at the GHAPOHA Hospital in Takoradi, who spoke on Anxiety Disorder, said anxiety was normal but could lead to disorder behaviour, which required psychiatric attention.
“Anxiety leads to depression, substance abuse, insomnia, headaches and chronic pain,” she said.
The Clinical Health Psychologist urged patients with mental health disorders to seek treatment through psychotherapy, medications and trust inside to avoid all anxieties.
Mrs Joyce Yeboah, the Regional Director, of the Department of Community Development, Ghana Health Service, urged parents to examine children regularly to detect disorders and help them to overcome their problems.
Mr Bernard Ekow Aggrey, Project Director of the Church, said mental health patients had rights, which must be respected, and called for the training of participants to become mental health, clinical psychologists.
Mr Emmanuel Mark Ackon, Presiding Member at the Shama District Assembly, reiterated the need to revisit the extended family system to address the problem.
He stressed the need for district assemblies to collaborate with other stakeholders to address the upsurge in mental health disorders.