It has been roughly 2 years now since COVID 19 hit the globe. Many losing loved ones and livelihoods affecting the emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing of the majority. This, therefore, calls for the urgency to raise awareness on mental health issues.
Over 700,000 individuals globally die from suicide every year according to World Health Organization (WHO). Africa having the highest rates of suicide, and most of them being youngsters from the age of 15 to 26 years old.
As much as there is no clear reason for suicide attempts, it is still evident that the bulk of people suffer from mental health. Unfortunately, mental health has been overlooked by most nations while focusing on health matters especially in Africa.
Most countries in the continent have inadequate professional assistance and comprehensive study and research on risk factors and consequences of self-destruction in society at large, and how to end such attempts.
Despite the governments’ attempts to set up workshops to raise awareness on mental health and suicide, women show up mostly, and men are afraid to be seen weakling, leaving their mental matters unreached, unheard and unresolved. Marking their suicidal rate 3 times higher than that of women and younger people.
This silent epidemic is overly viewed as undiagnosed, however, it occurs from preventable and treatable psychosocial conditions.
Though there is a gap and little access to trained mental health workers and psychiatrist expertise, reaching out to persons battling mental health issues remains a challenge.
In the African Region, lack of information, inaccessibility of high-quality mental health care services, stigma, and cultural issues are significant barriers that prevent people from seeking help.
The World Health Organization (WHO), when commemorating World’s Mental Health on 10th October, underscored that individuals suffering from mental issues, at least 50% of them are depressed and do not receive treatment.
Additionally, individuals going through rivalries, catastrophes, abuse, or lonesomeness are strongly associated with suicidal behavior. Also, the suicidal rates are higher amongst vulnerable communities that experience discrimination, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) persons; refugees, and prisoners. Without a doubt, the strongest risk factor for suicide is a previous suicide attempt.
To reduce the cases of suicide resulting from mental health issues, WHO has continually urged the governments and health workers to put more effort into establishing workshops to create awareness.
Also, there is need to reach out to the weak communities, educate the public on mental health on the myths and misconceptions they have about mental health in general.