Ghana has joined the world to commemorate World Schizophrenia Day with the theme, “Celebrating the Power of Community Kindness” on Wednesday in Accra.
The Chairperson for the Mental Health Authority Board, Madam Estelle Appiah, said the main goal of this year’s celebration was to spread awareness of schizophrenia and dispel common misunderstandings and misconceptions about the condition.
She said it was crucial to make sure that everyone who was affected by the condition received the necessary care and help and added that efforts to lessen the stigma and discrimination endured by those who were affected would continue to be a major priority.
She urged the public, development partners, caregivers, community organizations and all other interested parties to collaborate to remove obstacles and broaden support for those who live with schizophrenia.
On her part, the Technical Director of the MHA, Dr Nana Yaa Adobea Brown, stated that the MHA was getting everyone on board as the surest means to eliminate stigmas associated with mental health.
She called for a supportive atmosphere for people with schizophrenia to raise awareness, expand access to mental health services, and guarantee that individuals who are impacted received the care and support they needed,
The Acting Chief Executive of MHA, Professor Pinaman Appau said, “These people with schizophrenia, possibly the most vulnerable of all face serious difficulties every day, including stigma, prejudice, and social exclusion.”
She believed that the hurdles preventing people with schizophrenia from fully participating in society could be eliminated by developing a culture of acceptance, understanding and support.
She stated that through community initiatives, educational campaigns and collaborative partnerships, the authority could build a caring society that provided equitable access to mental healthcare, employment opportunities and social support networks.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by persistent psychotic symptoms such as auditory and/or visual hallucinations, delusional thinking, dissociation from reality, and disorganized thoughts and behaviour. World Schizophrenia Awareness Day is commemorated every May 24.
Priscilla Osei-Wusu Nimako, ISD