21-year-old Dede has been a victim of unfounded fears about institutionalized and discharged psychiatric patients as she battled to regain her mental stability. She said, “After my suicide attempt, I was referred to the Korle-Bu Psychiatric unit. But my people were against me going there for treatment because they have this mentality that the diagnosis and medicines that will be given to you would worsen your case. That is the kind of mentality everyone creates about psychiatric units.
“They didn’t allow me to move to a hospital to seek medical attention. But I was able to get a counsellor to help me through the difficult time. It was somehow a disadvantage to me because I don’t know how much I would have benefitted from that treatment or the process that I would have gone through. “
Dede, a cosmetologist and entrepreneur managing her own clothing line, gave an overview of how people do not take mental health seriously in the country. According to her, a large portion of the youth is struggling to maintain the soundness of mind. Recounting her experience, which triggered the downwards slope, Dede mentioned the unavailability of support through traumas and challenging times.
“Growing up, I faced a lot of struggles when it comes to my mind. Challenges from the outside world and the lack of family love affected me so much in my life. Because all I had was my mum and unfortunately for me too my mom was very busy all the time. So, although I do get them, they showered with a lot of gifts and all those things, that kind of love was limited, and I lack those things. It affected me so much because the way my aunty would treat me is not the same way my mother would treat me. Facing all those challenges from the public, family and being abused on several occasions, like being raped, affected me. My mental stability wasn’t stable. Last year, I went through a difficult time, which led me to try committing suicide.”
Dede, a native of Old Ningo Prampram in the Greater Accra region, wants to be an inspiration and a pillar for other young people, yearning to be heard through the chaos in their lives. She aims to leverage the GMB platform to create awareness and court public support for the campaign.
“I would like to be a public advocate through the GMB platform. Because this platform is very huge. It carries a lot. Before I came into the house, I went to several hospitals to see psychiatrists, but I went through difficulties. Some of them didn’t even attend to me at all. Assuming I came here and they notice that this girl is from Ghana’s Most Beautiful. Then they would say, okay, let me attend to her.”
Dede aspires to be a lawyer championing mental health awareness in the country with a registered psychiatric facility to properly treat and manage mental illness.
By: Grace Somuah-Annan|3news.com|Ghana]]>