The mental health of an individual is as important as the physical health, since depression and other forms of mental issues increase the risk of non-communicable disease such as stroke, diabetes and heart diseases, among others.
Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that mental, neurological and substance use disorders account for more than 10% of the global disease burden. The lost productivity resulting from depression and anxiety – two of the most common mental disorders, cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year.
Also, it has come to light that in low-and middle-income countries, more than 75% of people with mental disorders receive no treatment at all for their disorder.
Here in Ghana, there have been efforts by the government to improve mental healthcare services at all levels, however, significant gaps remain, with only about 2% of Ghana’s 2.3 million people living with mental health conditions receiving psychiatric treatment and support from health facilities, the WHO data further revealed.
A week ago, one Kelvin Grantsil shared a video of a graduate of Bishop Herman Senior High School-Kpando, who walked to a Basic school to draw the attention of teachers to the relevance of educating young learners on the effects of substance abuse.
Speaking impeccable English, he explained that he was hooked to weed after an introduction to the substance by his ‘School-Father’ during their time at BIHECO. The young man dressed in a wretched and dirty shirt with a sack in the left hand noted that, he has graduated from taking weed into other substances and that by 6am, he must be high on the substance due to the immerse addiction he is suffering.
He requested for help to get freed from the addiction of these substance that has led him to pick and sell scraps just to raise money for it.
He pitifully said in the viral video that, he is not happy with the state in which he finds himself now and needs help badly. He said, he had dreams and ambitions, however, substance abuse and addiction have cut-off his dreams and messed him up completely.
The video went viral with a lot of commentary on where he can get the help he deserves to get off the addiction of these substances.
Finally, a social media influencer, Nana Tea announced that his team has got into contact with the young-man and are willing to help find a rehabilitation centre for him to totally recover from the addiction.
However, many Facebook soldiers including myself were stunned to the bone, when Nana Tea wrote this on his Facebook page the following day:
SO FAR, ONLY ONE REHAB CENTRE TAKES 4000GHC A MONTH. THE REST ARE A BIT HIGH. U MAY NEED NOT LESS THAN 4-6 MONTHS AT THE CENTRE.
This is a clear indication of how porous our social protection and intervention measures are as a country. It is unbelievable that, a world class Rehabilitation Centre fully owned and supported by Government is just a pigment of one’s own imagination. Private individuals and organizations have taken advantage of the situation and are charging exorbitant prices for these services to the vulnerable in our societies.
Though this write-up does not support substance abuse of any sort, I believe it is a national responsibility to rescue individuals that find themselves in such unpleasant conditions.
I am by this write-up calling on the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and the Social welfare department to develop a national strategic plan with the building and furnishing of top-notch Rehab Centers as a major component in all regions.
A center where people can walk-in to and speak to experts about their situations and get help, to reduce domestic violence and suicide, among others.
It is my humble wish and plead to the various private Rehab Centers in the country, to be considerable to the plight of vulnerable families that require their help to rescue some of these dying souls from depression and substance abuse.
Ghana must stand up to be counted for interventions that restore hope to the hopeless in communities across the country.
By Derick Kwame Botsyoe