Peter Badimak Yaro —  Convener of the Alliance for Mental Health and Development
Peter Badimak Yaro — Convener of the Alliance for Mental Health and Development

World Mental Health Day commemorated

World Mental Health Day has been commemorated in Accra, with a call on the government to give priority to the mental health of the people.

The day is commemorated on October 10, every year to raise awareness of mental health and the need for stakeholders to support the sector.


This theme for this year’s commemoration is: “Making mental health and well-being for all a global priority.”

The day, an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), was first commemorated on October 10, 1992.

The Convener of the Alliance for Mental Health and Development (Mental Health Alliance), Peter Badimak Yaro, who made the call, also entreated the government to include mental health in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), increase investment in the sector and enhance human and infrastructural resources for the sector.

The alliance is a national network of over 300 civil society organisations engaged in mental health advocacy in the country.

According to Mr Yaro, the nation spent only 1.4 per cent of total government health expenditure on mental health, a situation which, he said, was contributing to the increase in the national burden of mental ill-health in the country.

“Investment in mental health is low, ranging between 0.5 to 1.9 per cent, particularly in low- and middle-income countries,” he added.

Experts estimate that seven out of 10 people in the country have one mental health condition or another.

COVID-19 impact

“The COVID-19 had a debilitating effect on people’s mental health and well-being. The impact was worse for persons with mental health conditions and their primary caregivers, and this lingers on.

“It led to an increase in loneliness, anxiety, depression, insomnia, harmful alcohol and drug use and self-harm or suicidal behaviour,” Mr Yaro further said.

He called for revisit of the country’s mental health policy and the Mental Health Act 2012, Act 846, which provided equal opportunities for everyone to enjoy mental health and also exercise their human rights.

“The alliance once again wishes to call on the Board of the Mental Health Authority to institute the mental health review tribunal, establish regional visiting committees and prioritise the addition of mental health to the NHIS,” he added.

Mr Yaro mentioned the challenges which hindered and delayed recuperation to include social stigma, discrimination, social exclusion, physical abuse, sexual abuse and access to justice.

“These challenges negatively affect the quality of life of persons with mental health conditions, leaving them marginalised, poorer and less empowered than the rest of society,” he added.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said depression is one of the leading causes of disability, while suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds.

It also says people with severe mental health conditions die prematurely — as much as two decades early — due to preventable physical conditions.

The WHO has, therefore, said increased investment is required for the sector to create more awareness to increase understanding and reduce stigma, increase access to quality mental health care and effective treatment and research to identify new treatments for mental disorders.

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