Widely held misconceptions contributing to mental illness stigma in Africa — Psychologist
Psychologist, Mr. Mawusi Asafo, has note, misconceptions surrounding mental illness in Africa contribute largely to stigmas that mental health patient’s face on the continent.
He said in Africa, the widely held belief is that mental health illness is caused by spiritual forces, as part of punishment for going against some social norm or taboo, “That invariably makes the mental health sufferer bad,” he stressed, “so it makes it difficult to get close to such people”.
He said such misconceptions consequently make treating mental health illness in the African sub-regions difficult, because patients are stigmatized, adding that, mental health professionals are also stigmatized in some instances.
Touching on solution to the problem, he said, it is important for people to start seeing mental health illnesses as biological cases rather than spiritual ones, “If people could relate to mental illness as biological, then the stigma will not be a big deal” he stressed.
Mr. Mawusi Asafo made these known on #StayAlive segment of HSTV’s Morning Show, #HealthyMorning, talking to HSTV’s Cecilia Anno-Barnieh about mental illness, treatments and stigma issues.