Being healthy is about maintaining both physical and mental well-being. While most people know what to do when someone they know gets sick or injured, identifying mental illness is more difficult.
Psychiatric nurse and 2014 Mandela Washington fellow Harriet Yayra Adzofu offered some common signs of mental health issues, which include social isolation, complaints of unexplained physical ailments and substance abuse.
Getting help where it is needed
Mental illness is one of the leading causes of disability in children worldwide — nearly 20 percent of children in the world suffer from it. Unfortunately, countries with the highest populations of young people have the least access to mental health resources. For example, in sub-Saharan Africa — a region in which more than 70 percent of the population is younger than 30 — the World Health Organization estimates that there is only one psychiatrist for every 1 million people.
Crises, war and disaster can make the problem even worse.
Dealing with mental health issues, especially in places where they are not well understood, is tough. However, it’s important not to stigmatize those who need help. Use facts from the Young African Leaders Initiative to help others understand the truth about mental illnesses.