Reducing mental health cases remains one of the challenges faced by many governments across the world as only few get diagnosed and treated.

The processes of identifying and solving mental health illnesses usually come at much cost to governments.

A Lecturer at the University of Ghana’s Department of Psychiatry, Dr Seth Asafo, believes different policy directions must be considered in the bid to curb mental disorders in children and the larger population across the country.

According to him, there is an urgent need to get a database of people who may be suffering various forms of psychotic disorders.

Contributing to discussions on Prime Morning, Monday, he said this can be achieved through intense research studies that will help to study the patterns and the manners in which they occur.

“We don’t have much data on the people who are experiencing different pathologies in our part of the world. In many other countries, they have systems that record these things and they give directions to policies, and I guess that’s one thing we need to do because database really drives policies and also drives interventions.”

“So, we should be able to have enough funds to do more research to identify the presentations, and for us to also devise what we call Customised Therapies.”

Dr Asafo mentioned that most of the western therapies do not yield the needed results as a result of the cultural dynamics in Ghana.

The Clinical Psychologist is optimistic that the customised therapies, once considered, will go a long way to salvage the current situation.

“We’re looking at understanding these conditions from the Ghanaian cultural perspective and what it also means is how do we go about staging interventions for this, and all these are tied back to the research,” he emphasised in an interview with Benjamin Akakpo.

Meanwhile, he has entreated parents to swiftly report any unusual behaviours in their children to psychologists and health professionals.

He cautioned parents against any attempts to engage in self-diagnosis and interventions which may only worsen the situation in their children.

“The best thing to do [as a parent when you realise these] is to see a pediatrician or see a mental health professional.

“You might google it but these things are a group of symptoms that are put together before any diagnosis and interventions are made. You might see one and two but you might never be able to piece them together as much. So when you find that something is unusual [and] you’re not used to it, the best thing to do is to seek professional help,” he admonished.

The World Mental Health Day is celebrated on October 10 every year across the globe to raise awareness about mental health issues and to mobilize efforts in support of eradicating them.



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