The Cameron Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services has joined other sister health institutions across the globe in commemorating the 2020 World Mental Health Day. During the event on October 10, 2020, the staff of the Mental Health Department called for increased investment at all levels to make mental health services more accessible to all.
Odilia Nyambo, Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse say mental health remains one of the underfunded departments as far as healthcare is concerned. “We therefore by this celebration call on management, governments, and policymakers to invest in mental health just like it is the case with other health components – Mental Health is as important as physical health,” underscored Odilia.
According to Dr. Ingrid Daniels, President of the World Federation for Mental Health, the COVID-19 pandemic, which the world is experiencing, has had an unprecedented impact on the mental health of millions of people across the globe. “We know that the levels of anxiety, fear, isolation, social distancing and restrictions, uncertainty and emotional distress experienced have become widespread, as the world struggles to bring the virus under control,” adds Dr. Ingrid.
Besides the COVID-19, Prof. Tih Pius Muffih, Director of CBC Health Services says the socio-political crisis in Cameroon’s Northwest and Southwest Regions and elsewhere on the globe is another major concern that is negatively impacting mental health. “It is therefore important for us to push further and consider improving [our] investment in mental health by integrating mental health in Primary Health packages,” entreated the Public Health Expert.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says about 450 million people live with mental disorders, which are among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide. Despite the dire mental health situation across the globe, funding for mental health services is very limited.
It is against this backdrop that this year’s World Mental Health Day was and is a time to mobilize for greater investment in mental health to prevent an imminent mental health catastrophe.
In line with investment in mental health, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General says mental must be an integral part of universal health care. “No one should be denied access to mental health care because he/she is poor or lives in a remote place,” added Dr. Tedros.
“Universal health coverage means that all people have access to the quality mental health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship,” corroborates Dr. Ingrid.
Despite limited funding for mental health, the CBC Health Services making great strides in providing mental health care in hard-to-reach communities in Cameroon. According to Prof Tih, the organization through its Community Mental Health Project reached out to over 1300 patients monthly.
According to Prof. Tih the milestone achieved thus far is thanks to the commitment of staff. “I wish to seize this opportunity to thank staff who have taken mental health to heart and are investing time and resources in the mental health of their patients daily,” he said
The theme for this year’s Mental Health Day was “Mental Health for all. Greater Investment – Greater Access”.
World Mental Health Day, a brainchild of the World Federation for Mental Health, was observed for the first time on 10 October 1992, and has since been annual rendezvous.