27,000 People are Suffering From Severe Mental Disorders, Says Mental Information Officer
Fatoumatou Jallow, Mental Information Officer said according World Health survey, 2004 estimated that approximately 27,000 people in The Gambia (or 3% of the population aged 15 years and more) is suffering from a severe mental disorders and a further 91,000 (10% of 15 years and more) are suffering from moderate to mild metal disorder.
She made this remarks on Friday at the National Aid Secretariat (NAS) during Mental Health Leadership Advocate Program (MHLAP) report of an implemented project from 2012-2019 on mental health, through the support of WHO.
“This suggests that at least 118,000 people in the Gambia (or 13% of the adult population) are likely to be affected by mental disorders which require varying degrees of treatment and care.” She added.
Yusupha Jatta a teacher and beneficiary of the project said he was barely 16 when he was forced to confront the realities of mental health problems. This was sometimes in 1996 to 2001.
“I was forced to withdraw from summer classes due to mental health and also in 2005; I was unable to attend my senior secondary school graduation due to the same issue. This was the time I was diagnosed with bio-polar disorder at the government psychiatric clinic (polyclinic).
Alhamdulillah from 2005 to date, I have been having free regular medical checkup at that same clinic. Anytime I have relapse, I will be taken there to get free medical treatment until my discharge.”
Mr. Jarju calls on government to increase on the availability of psychiatric drugs and also train more staffs to be able to handle and overwhelming number of psychiatric patients in the country. He suggested for the ministry of health to introduce 24hours functional clinic at Tanka Tanka Psychiatric Hospital for outpatients.
By Sheikh Manneh.