SIX THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH (IN GHANA)
(consulting therapist, Laurita De Diego Brako)
Welcome to the first official episode of Things My Therapist Said. For this post, I decided to start with the basics. Most of these things you probably already know. But some of them might have details that find you pompously tilting your head to the left and declaring “hm.”
These are 6 things you should know about Mental Health (in Ghana)
1. There is Help available.
Her name is Laurita de Diego Brako and she runs a private practice called Support.Change.Heal in Abelemkpe. For this first episode, she is my consulting therapist. This means I reached out to her on Facebook, asked her if she would be willing to share her knowledge and she was kind enough to agree. So if you, your mum, your father, your [insert person you care about] have been looking for someone professional to talk to, without running the risk of having your mother’s brother’s best-friend finding out, please get in touch
2. It’s called Psychotherapy
3. You don’t have to be ‘Mad’ to qualify for a therapist
This one you probably knew but I think if you’re a human being, with all the insecurities that come with said label, it bears repeating.
The aim of Psychotherapy is to be mentally healthy. Being Mentally Healthy means being able to manage your daily stresses in a healthy way.
It does not mean being constantly happy.
And It does not mean ‘having zero problems’
Problems are a part of life. But when they creep up, do you find yourself constantly paralyzed into inaction, drinking them under the table or pretending they don’t exist ? At one point in time, I’ve answered yes to all three of those options, meaning that at one point in my life, I really could have done with a therapist. What about you?
4. You don’t have to be an adult to go to Therapy
One of the early questions I asked Laurita was about the age range of her clients. When she included children, I think I said,
“Whaaaat? Here? In Ghana? How!”
Growing up, I didn’t know that was an option… for children in Ghana. This is why school counselors are so important: According to Laurita, they are an amazing bridge between those in need and those equipped to help them. Some kids (and I felt so proud when she said this) actually ask for help, “I think I need to see someone.”
It made me think, if a child under the age of 10 could ask for help, why couldn’t I? Why can’t you?
5. Therapy is not a 'Kpa-Kpa- Kpa' Movement
Therapy is not like curing worms : One doctor’s appointment and two doses of [ insert drug ] is probably not going to be enough to set you right. It takes time and the time it takes varies from person to person.
6. But don’t take it 'World Cup' either
Although ‘cures’ vary depending on the person, the purpose of psychotherapy is to lead you to a place where you can eventually manage your daily stresses independently. Always remember that. It is a tool meant to empower you so that one day you can stand on your own.
I hope this helped.
P.s Next week I’m going to be looking into Trauma Response Teams : Do we have any in Ghana?
Trauma Response Team: a publicly funded body that responds to the emotional trauma caused by violent incidents . So in the case of the 8 major gas explosions in Ghana over the last three years and the floods of 2017, was there a body solely dedicated to addressing the wounds of emotional trauma?
If you have any information on the matter, please share it with me in the comments section ( you don’t have to give your email address when Squarespace asks) or send me a direct message (email@example.com)