What is Mental health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Early Warning Signs

Not sure if you or someone you know is living with mental health problems? Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviors can be an early warning sign of a problem:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can't get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

There are more than 200 types of mental illness. Click here to see list 

Worldwide, mental health disorders account for 14 % of the burden of diseases. Similarly, the prevalence of mental health disorders in Ghana is 13 % of the adult population. These disorders are of varying forms and may require numerous forms of care which could be either pharmacological or non-pharmacological 

Based on a study conducted by the Bio Med Central (BMC) in Ghana, about 13 % of the adult population is estimated to be affected by mental health disorders of varying forms. In managing these patients, psychotropic medications are mostly employed. Since most of these conditions are chronic cases, the medications are consumed for prolonged periods of time. However, there exists an absence of information on efficacy, side effects, accessibility and prescription practices of psychotropic medication utilization from the viewpoint of the practitioners who are primarily involved in prescribing, dispensing and administering these medications.

Results from an assessment using the World Health Organization’s Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO-AIMS) conducted by the Mark Roberts Caroline Mogan, and Joseph B Asare found that the main strength of the mental health system in Ghana was the presence of a long established service with staff working across the country in outpatients departments and hospitals. The main weakness was that government spending on mental health was very low and the bulk of services, albeit very sparse, were centered around the capital city leaving much of the rest of the country with almost no provision. Service provision was dominated by nurses with few other professions groups present. This survey provides data on the Mental Health System in Ghana for the year 2011. It supplies essential planning information for the implementation of Ghana’s new Mental Health Act 846 of 2012, a renewal of the Ghana 5 year plan for mental health and it contributes to international knowledge base on mental health. It provides a baseline from which to measure future progress in Ghana and comparison data for use in other countries. In addition to reporting our findings we describe and analyse deficiencies and strengths of the Ghana mental health system.

World Mental Health Day is celebrated yearly on October 10 as an international day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.


Key facts

  • Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, it is estimated that 5.0% of adults suffer from depression (1).
  • Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.
  • More women are affected by depression than men.
  • Depression can lead to suicide.
  • There is effective treatment for mild, moderate, and severe depression.


Diagnosis & Treatment

There are effective treatments for depression. 

Depending on the severity and pattern of depressive episodes over time, health-care providers may offer psychological treatments such as behavioural activation, cognitive behavioural therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy, and/or antidepressant medication such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). Different medications are used for bipolar disorder. Health-care providers should keep in mind the possible adverse effects associated with antidepressant medication, the ability to deliver either intervention (in terms of expertise, and/or treatment availability), and individual preferences. Different psychological treatment formats for consideration include individual and/or group face-to-face psychological treatments delivered by professionals and supervised lay therapists. Antidepressants are not the first line of treatment for mild depression. They should not be used for treating depression in children and are not the first line of treatment in adolescents, among whom they should be used with extra caution.


If you suspect you or a close friend/family may have a mental health condition, its advisable to speak to an expert as soon as possible. A few mental health facilities in Ghana are:

1. Mental Health Authority 0303964878 / 0274435261 

2. Accra Psychiatric Hospital, +233 (0) 302-228688 / +233 (0) 302-221920

3. Mental Health Society of Ghana (MEHSOG),  +233 302 781712 / +233 24 4314241




International Journal of Mental Health Systems


1 comment

Hi,am Afful from Tema Mataheko am 30 years old. I have over thinking problem and my voice doesn’t sound clear to me please i need help this my number 0554707148

Emmanuel Afful

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