Girls Education Initiative Ghana advocates sound mental health among students

The Girls Education Initiative Ghana (GEIG) a not for profit organisation focused on providing education support for young girls, on Saturday began a campaign for sound mental health among young people in the country.

The campaign with the tagline #Depression Let’s Talk About It, comes on the back of recent incidents of suicides committed by young students Latest of this being a thirteen-year-old Dennis Ali who is reported to have taken his life because he failed his Class four examinations.

GEIG held the sensitization program in collaboration with the Ashanti region chapter of the Global Shapers as part of the second edition of the 2017 Women Who Inspire Us Series.

The young people were allowed to share their most depressing moments while seasoned counselors took them through healthy nuggets in managing their down moments.

Speaking to Ultimate News’ Ivan Heathcote – Fumador on the sidelines of the program, founder and Executive Director of the Girls Education Initiative Ghana Elizabeth Patterson indicated that she was inspired to embark on the campaign because of a personal experience with a close family member who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

She explained, “Even though GEIG’s focus is not on mental health and mental illness, because I am so close to this family member I feel as though whatever she is going through other people might also be going through it and my students need to hear about it. It’s very critical that we as a community don’t stigmatize people who are dealing with certain issues and this has been my motivation behind this.”

One of the main speakers Mrs. Victoria Degraft Adjei who also heads the counseling unit of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology lauded the initiative and made strong suggestions for more of such programs to be  held in Schools.,

“It’s worrying when you hear that our young ones are committing suicides because of depression and other mental health related issues. I think the families the society and everybody need to say that we have to take this up and work at it. We need to get more counselors and we also need to train the teachers themselves to also help the students”

The GEIG students and other participants, who attended the event, were elated at the insights and lessons they had gleaned from the lectures.

“It’s been very beneficial to me because I realized I was going through some depressing moments and I didn’t even know,” young Barbara Gyasi told Ultimate News.

GEIG student Fauzia Abdul Kareem shared, “In Ghana, we tend to think those walking on the streets are the only ones insane, but I now realize that well dressed and nice looking people might be depressed on the inside.”

Head of communications with the Global Shapers Kumasi Hub Rya Kuewor was elated the event had succeeded in dealing with a critical need of society.

Rya recounted, “I went through depression myself when I was growing up. I had counseling for many years after I attempted suicide twice and so I think it’s really useful that we catch them young and put them on the path that they need to be,”

The program also had some notable input from Clinical Psychologist Akua Afrieyie, young Mandela Washington Fellow Evans Owusu Amankwah and some teachers who attended the function.

source:Ghana/ Ivan Korshie Heathcote-Fumador