Mental illness, a widespread crisis, unfortunately is not handled properly in our world today. In Ghana, we have homes for people who live with mental illnesses, but sadly we still see many people who face mental health challenges hopelessly walking on the streets of Ghana, some clothed and others naked. We must all do more to support those who are hurting, empathize with them, and break the stigma.
Over the past month I carried out a survey to collect responses from my friends and people in Ghana. In total I received 63 responses. On a day-to-day basis, 40 people who took the survey see at least 5 mentally ill people walking on the streets of Accra, Ghana. Some may say that this is trivial, but it is a significant problem. If 40 different people see 5 mentally ill people in Accra, this represents a larger percentage of mentally ill people who aren’t accounted or being cared for by anyone. The majority of people who took the survey believe that mental illness is caused by sadness, lack of self-love, substance abuse, lack of support systems, and situations that arise at birth.
One of my favorite replies from the survey: “Mental illness is brought about by numerous events in one’s life. It's much more common than we may think; anyone can face mental health challenges. Those who are mentally challenged need to be taken care of with much care and diligence.” I agree that regardless of a person’s mental health challenges, we need to take the responsibility to care for them and give them opportunities in life. When we open our minds and hearts, we can truly get to know people who struggle with their mental health and understand that at our core, we find similarities in our stories; we are human.
I would like to end with this here. Mental illness should not be looked at as a disability but as an opportunity for you and I to be able to spread love to those who have not felt it so much. They are human just like us and should be seen and treated as such. As we enter this new year, stretch out a helping hand to someone in need and make them feel loved because honestly we can all benefit from more love and support. People living with mental health challenges need to be in society and in the world as they add immense value, and they are among the strongest people I know.
TeenzTalk's Blog is here to amplify youth stories and perspectives on topics including personal challenges, self-care practices, initiatives in their community, and more.