Health News Fri, 9 Jul 2021

We deserve equal job opportunities – Mental Health Advocate

Abena Korkor, a mental health advocate, says it is unfair for corporate institutions to refuse to work with people dealing with mental health problems.

To her, people living with mental health challenges are equally as intelligent, efficient and effective as people regarded as completely sane, and should not be treated with biases or looked down upon because they suffer periodic mental crisis.

Abena Korkor who lives with bipolar disorder, speaking to Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning show shared an instance where a member of her support group for persons living with the same condition was laid off after confiding in a counsellor.

“There is this intelligent lady in my support group who was a teacher but lost her job after the school found out she had bipolar. She told the school’s counsellor her condition and in less than a week, the school called for a meeting and she was laid off. Unfortunately for us, she was working on a probationary basis so we couldn’t take any legal action. Most people think people living with mental disorders are not strong enough to work in a corporate environment and that is false.”

Aside from corporate institutions giving people with mental health problems equal job opportunities, she believes they must also support them whenever they experience mental episodes or breakdowns.

“People living with mental health disorders must be given equal job opportunities and work in institutions they want to and if they suffer crisis, they need to be given a support by their employers and not laid off.” She however added that people with mental health conditions are not fit for all jobs.

She commended institutions in Ghana that support employees dealing with mental health disorders. “There are institutions which support staff with bipolar disorders. They rather focus on how intelligent and diligent the staff are and not their conditions.”

On her accord, Ghana needs to restructure its systems and support mental health. “In Ghana we prefer sensationalism and do not pay any serious attention to mental health and rather attribute it to spirituality.”

Abena Korkor appealed to the government to fund psychiatric hospitals in the country, rehabilitate them to standard so they can provide proper care to people dealing with mental health problems, and also put in place policies to favor them.

The Ghanaian society has paid little attention to mental health issues with legislation being outdated and no longer in line with best practice standards. Services were significantly underfunded with only 1.4% of the health expenditure going to mental health, and spending very much skewed towards urban areas.
Source: etvghana.com