They are generally characterized by a combination of abnormal thoughts, perceptions, emotions, behaviour and relationships with others.
Key amongst mental disorders include depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other psychoses, dementia.
On The Day Show with Berla Mundi on TV3, two victims who are champions of mental health shared their experience and how it nearly ruined their lives.
Mr. Bernard Akomeah who recovered 33 years ago, explained that he was just in his room one day and started seeing things differently.
And he was driven to a psychiatric hospital by his brother – his first time going there.
“Neither did I know there was a psychiatry hospital, with the physical illness, you go to Korle Bu which is the nearest hospital to me but this, I was seeing things in a different form, so the next day I rushed me to the psychiatrist hospital” he said.
He spent two weeks at the hospital and was discharged after being declared fit by the doctor.
He was admitted again in two weeks’ time and it continued for six years before they managed to treat him with no relapse in the last 33-years.
Mr. Akomeah said it got to a point where his own family members and close relatives called him a mad man because of his actions and he went to the extent of committing suicide.
Dorcas Efe Mensah also a victim of mental health and a champion, suffered depression when she was young and was a moody but mostly sad person at High School – her teachers even called her ‘Emunmuna’ to wit, frowning of face.
She was diagnosed of mental health problem in 2010 when she had completed University and was working.
Her boss realized it through her actions with other colleagues at the office and advised her to see a psychiatrist.
“One day, I was there and he called me and told me he thinks I need to speak to a psychologist, I was like why? I had this whole idea about mental health but my boss was someone that I saw like a father figure, so when he said that I said okay, I will give it a try, so he booked my first appointment with a psychiatrist.
“I thought I was just a difficult person, I didn’t know I needed to see a psychiatrist,” she said.
Dorcas lost her parents at younger age so she lived with her grandmother and auntie throughout her life.
As a result, she sometimes locks herself up for days shedding tears till she is satisfied – thinking that per the circumstances, it was okay because she had lost parents.
“At a point, I miss my mum and dad because everybody around was with their parents,” said Dorcas.
Mr. Humphrey Kofie who is the Executive Secretary of the Mental Health Society of Ghana advised parents to get close to their kids because it takes a second person to observe and advised one to seek medical attention.
“Indeed it is true People with mental health will appreciate whatever they are going through.
“It takes a second person to observe and that is the reason why we keep saying that parents should pay more attention to their children and should be both at school and at home, because when the child begins to assume a certain posture, especially, wanting to stay in a corner alone, wanting to isolate himself, becoming quiet all of a sudden, you should become worried as a parents and that is when you should interrogate further more to understand because some of them could even be suicidal thoughts.
“In recent times, we have had very young children committing suicide or attempting to commit suicide, we have had people who have gone through depression as young as they maybe.