As Ghana marks world bipolar day, the Ghanaian society should rethink how people with this mental disorder are treated. According to the mayoclinic.org this is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings or emotional highs. It was formerly called manic depression.
The exact cause of this disorder is not immediately known, but a combination of genetics, environment and altered brain structure and chemistry may play a role.
When we focus on Ghana, unfortunately there is a lot of stigma attached to people with such conditions including spiritual connotations that prevent them from getting the holistic care and strong support system they need.
Some families instead of taking their members suffering from such conditions to a medical facility, they focus only on the spiritual aspect taking them to prayer camps where they are sometimes chained. The Mental Health Society of Ghana is not enthused with such a response from the Ghanaian society. They want victims to be integrated back into the society through a strong support system suitable for their health and wellbeing.
Bipolar disorder is not a death sentence as there are some notable people with the condition living their normal lives because of the strong support they had from their families.
One notable person is the project coordinator for Mental Health Society of Ghana Madam Esinam Prah who is a very good example. She has indicated that she being strong despite the neglect and stigma from the larger society is because the support system she has. She further stated that confidentiality is very important and ‘’we should be each others keeper.’’
Another notable personality who has come out strong despite the bipolar disorder is Abena Korkor a host at TV3 who has also been a strong advocate for strong support system. She calls on society not to neglect people with such conditions.