October 16, 2020
By Yusufu S. Bangura
Chairman for Mental Health Coalition Sierra Leone (MHCSL), Walter Carew, has last Saturday, 10th October, told newsmen that mental health illness can affect everyone across the country.
He made the above assertion during the celebration of the World Mental Health Day.
The Mental Health Coalition Sierra Leone in partnership with the World Health Organization, Ministry of Health and Sanitation and Handicap International, commemorated the day with the theme “Mental Health for all, Greater Investment, Greater Access.”
Before the celebration, Mental Health Coalition donated some food items plus used clothing to different mental homes, including Hosetta Abdallah Memorial Home for Children, Old People’s Home, Temple of Truth and City of Rest at Kissy in Freetown.
They sensitized slum communities on mental health illness and also organized quiz and debating competition for pupils from various schools.
The World Mental Health Day is a day that the United Nations set aside to commemorate and raise awareness, sensitize and advocate mental health issues in various countries around the world.
The celebration was graced by the Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Partners in Health, Miss Salone 2019 and other key stakeholders.
Mr. Walter Carew, said the goal of the celebration is to help raise mental health awareness and everyone can make a contribution to ensure that people living with mental health problems can live better lives with dignity.
He said the world is experiencing the unprecedented impact of the current global health emergency due to COVID-19 that has also impacted the mental health of millions of people.
“We are fully aware that one of the most critical factors in attaining sustainable health and development for any individual, community or nation is a stable mental health, so why is it neglected? And there can be no help without mental health because development involves the change or upgrading from one level to a better high, it cannot be achieve without mental health,” he said.
He said close to one billion people are living with mental health disorder with three million people dying every year from harmful use of alcohol and abuse of substances.
He said one person die every forty second by committing suicide and billions of people around the world have been affected by COVID-19 pandemic, which is having a further impact on people’s mental health.
“The world is accepting the concept of universal health coverage. Mental health must be an integral part of UHC. Nobody should be denied access to mental health care because he or she is poor or lives in a remote place,” he said.
He noted that necessitates that under the current global health emergency no-one should be denied mental health care, adding that psychosocial support and mental health national plans need to address the mental health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on citizens and more than 75% do not receive treatment for mental health.
He continued that increase access in affordable equality mental health care investment is required as it will help them to raise awareness on mental health, and he asked government to create significant allocation to mental health care that will adequately address medication.
Giving the key note address for this year’s celebration, Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation 2, Dr, Amara Jambia said Mental health is a human right and it’s time that mental health is available for .
He added that people with mental health have hope for the future only if they do what is necessary for them.