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Published On: Mon, Feb 26th, 2024

“The world isn’t doing sufficiently enough for mental health” Says WHO’s Promotion Specialist 

Momodou Gassama, the world health organization (WHO)’s  Promotion Specialist emphasized that the world is not doing sufficiently enough to address the need for mental health, and that One billion of the world population has mental health disorder, thus malaria, HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and among other diseases are getting the resources they need.

He made this statement while addressing the media during the orientation of media personnel on the drafted mental health bill.

Mr Gassama further said, almost all the health ministries in the world allocate only 2% to Mental health globally and that other countries allocate less than  that, adding that human resource capacity for mental health is totally inadequate.

The WHO Specialist said, promoting mental health should start within our homes with family members, at schools, and institutions adding that no one is vulnerable, as someone in Tanka Tanka today can be the best person tomorrow as they come out being a strong and productive individual compare to the past, he  urge people to stop having misconception that anyone with mental illness from Tanka Tanka can never be normal again. 

Mr Gassama concluded by saying  mental health needs to be promoted, to protect it, including on how to prevent mental  health conditions, to provide services, the leadership has to be strong, financial resources has to be available, and to work together at community level, adding that adolescents don’t even know to solve problems and that problem solving skills are very important and social interactions.

The Program Manager at National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) and a psychiatric mental health nurse Mam Jarra Marega highlighted that it doesn’t matter whether anyone lives in a community, a patient in Tanka Tanka, a journalist, a mental health practitioner and among others every individual deserve the highest attainable for mental health as she describes it as a global challenge.

Mam Jarra further said, mental health conditions are the leading cause of disability globally in which those disabilities are caused by common mental health problems such as, depression, anxiety, chronic mental health problems, substance abuse and among others, adding that 1 in 4 people  experience mental health condition once or twice in their lifetime and 1 in 3 women, 1 in 5 women will experience major depression and 1 in 7 children between the ages of 10 to 19 years will experience mental health disorder. 

Adding that adolescents gap is really critical as they are people that are going to serve the nation tomorrow, saying that their program under the ministry of health Coordinates all mental health activities in the country but they cannot do it alone because their resource constraints and their human capacity is very low.

The Matron of Tanka Tanka Bakary Camara during his speech highlighted that mental health is a mutilate sectoral approach which he said has gone beyond the mentally trained specialize individuals, in which he said the media has a role to play during advocating and how it will reach the public.

Mr Camara urge people  to stop the stigmatization, discrimination  and attack on mental health individuals by calling them mad people saying that they are also human like any other person and anyone needs to respect their fundamental human rights.

The Mental Health Specialist at Kanifing hospital Amadou D. Jallow said  everyone has a role to play and we all need to work together to address the problem and advocate for mental health as media pratictioners in  what  needs to  be shared to the public and what is going to be helpful to them.

This orientation was organized by the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) of the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) on the draft Mental Health Bill. 

The purpose of this activity was to provide journalists with information about mental health, including the challenges and achievements in this field, aiming to equip the media with knowledge about the drafted Mental Health bill, and It serves as a platform for journalists to gain a deeper understanding of mental health issues and the proposed legislation.

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