Create a culture of acceptance, support and empathy for individuals with schizophrenia – Mental Health Authority

In an effort to combat the pervasive stigma that people diagnosed with schizophrenia face, the Mental Health Authority of Ghana has called on Ghanaians to foster a culture of acceptance, support and empathy.

The appeal of the Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority, Madame Pinaman Appau at a press briefing as part of activities to mark World Schizophrenia Day in 2023, advised Ghanaians to develop a culture of acceptance, support and empathy to help fight against the global disease.

Schizophrenia, a chronic and serious mental disorder that affects millions of people worldwide, has long been marred by misperceptions and discrimination. Individuals with schizophrenia often face isolation, marginalization and prejudice due to societal ignorance and fear. The GGZ recognizes the urgent need for change and has taken a proactive stance to address this urgent problem.

At the press briefing, Ms. Pinaman Appau emphasized that people with schizophrenia are “defined not by their diagnosis, but by their resilience, strength and inherent worth.”

Quoting the famous words of Mahatma Gandhi, she stressed the importance of collective efforts to eliminate the stigmatization of people with schizophrenia.

“Based on this, the true measure of our Ghanaian society is out there for all to see. Every day, these individuals (people who live abandoned on the street) with schizophrenia, perhaps the most vulnerable of them all, face major challenges, including stigma, discrimination and social isolation. We firmly believe that under this leadership and with the power of community-friendliness, our Ghanaian society will make a transformative difference in their lives.”

Madame Appau further underlined the importance of educating the public about schizophrenia to dispel myths and promote understanding. She added that it is necessary to recognize that individuals with this mental illness can live productive lives and make meaningful contributions to society if they receive the right support and treatment.

Madame Estelle Appiah, chair of the Board of the Mental Health Authority, highlighted the challenges faced by authorities that hinder progress in schizophrenia treatment. “The challenges that exist include insufficient funding, inadequate resources, brain drain of mental health professionals, challenges related to access to services and insufficient awareness and understanding of mental health issues, including schizophrenia, discrimination and the violation of human rights including shackles and shackles. She described these as “obstacles that we must overcome head on. The journey towards a more inclusive society requires a collective effort and a commitment to change.”

In order to realize this acceptance culture, the GGZ wants to develop various initiatives. These initiatives, along with stakeholders and financial support, will focus on raising awareness through educational campaigns, encouraging open dialogue and collaboration with community leaders, health professionals and civil society organizations.

Every May 24, the world celebrates World Schizophrenia Awareness Day, a day set aside to raise public awareness of the more than 20 million people who suffer from mental illness worldwide. The theme for 2023 is ‘Celebrating the Power of Kindness in Community’.

Create a culture of acceptance, support and empathy for individuals with schizophrenia – Mental Health Authority

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