The Unspoken Truth About Teenage Mental Health Issues In Ghana

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A creative depiction of Mental Health

This article was submitted by Jemima Efua Amoafo-Gaisie from the University of Ghana

So I’ve come to realize that a lot of people do not take their mental health seriously, and I’m pretty sure some don’t even see it as something that matters.

I actually asked my mum what she thought about it and she described it “as an issue for insane people”.

Mental health and insanity are totally different things and that’s what I’m going to explain first.

According to the People’s Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill, insanity is a “mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality”.

The Oxford Dictionary states that mental health “ is a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being”.

So clearly as we can see they’re both different. So basically, mental health issues are general terms for a group of illnesses that impact how we feel, and behave.

As teenagers, we go through different situations that take a toll on us; it can be school work, personal relationships, family issues, and many others.

I, for one, when I go through these tiring issues, my parents or any adult I know of are the last people who come to mind to vent off all the stress in my head. Who do I go to? – My friends.

We all have friends we tell our problems and secrets too. That’s just how it is for most teenagers; to share their problems with their age groups.

Some problems in relationships, school and family really take a toll on most teenagers and when they do not talk about it they keep it bottled up, and little by little, they have depression, eating disorders, anxiety attacks paranoia, and have problems socializing. All these are
symptoms of mental health illnesses.

As I continued reading on mental health issues on the internet, I personally got to the realization that I relate to most of the points I was reading on, and I know I’m not the only one.

Now what we have to do as Ghanaians is to not shy away from it. Mental health issues and illnesses are real, and actual people go through it with no one to talk to probably because of the fear of being stigmatized.

We need real help from professionals who can actually relate to teenagers in such a way that it brings actual improvements.

We fail to forget in Ghana, that in the next ten to fifteen years, we, the present teenagers of now, are going to be taking roles in the government, hospitals, media, research, etc.

Do we really want a working force of sound mind and body or a working force of bottled up depression, anxiety and paranoia running this country? Let’s think about that as we go through our daily lives.

This article was submitted by Jemima Efua Amoafo-Gaisie from the University of Ghana

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