Should mental health treatment be prioritised in Africa?

October 26, 2021 1081 views 0 comment 2 minutes reading time
Should mental health treatment be prioritised in Africa?

The provision of mental health services is becoming more common in many developed countries across the world as an estimated 13% of the global population suffers from a mental health disorder. In Africa, however, ensuring that these services are available seems to be of lower priority, despite an increased demand.

Many people across the continent face stress due to poverty, conflict, and diseases that are detrimental to their mental wellness.  An estimated 100 million Africans suffer from clinical depression. However, African governments only allocate 1% of their health budget towards mental health treatment, and less than 20% of people living with mental health conditions in countries such as South Africa, Ghana, and Ethiopia, receive treatment.

However, there is a lack of firm data on the true size of mental health issues across Africa, due in no small way to the fear of being stigmatised if you ask for help.

What do our readers think? One of our readers, Kelli said, “Yes. The hardships that people live within our country foster many mental health problems that often go unnoticed or untreated, which traps people in cycles of difficult living conditions and daily struggle. More attention and money could help to alleviate or break these cycles.”

We spoke to leading Nigerian mental health advocate, Psychiatrist, and psychotherapist, Dr. Maymunah Kadiri for her perspective.

We also spoke to the Director of the South African Federation for Mental Health, Bharti Patel and this is what she had to say

We put the question to blogger and mental health advocate, Sitawa Wafula

Should mental health treatment be prioritised in Africa? What should be done to destigmatise mental health?  Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

Image by Franco Ferri Mala via Flickr