Statement by Dr. Richard Konteh on World Mental Health Day

Today October 10, is World Mental Health Day! A day designed to encourage authorities to take action and create lasting change within mental health care.

This year, we've all been staying inside more because of COVID-19 restrictions, with our day-to-day routines disrupted, and many of us have felt the negative effects on our mental health.


World Mental Health Day was established in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health. In some countries around the world, it forms just one part of the larger Mental Illness Awareness Week.


Mental health problems, range from issues like a person's emotional, psychological and social well-being leading to depression and anxiety disorders, to conditions like schizophrenia. These affect millions of people around the world. In fact, according to current statistics, 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem during their lifetime and many more will see friends of family members affected. It has become increasingly important in recent decades as an estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression.


In my country Sierra Leone, mental health problems are very real. Many of our brothers and sisters suffer in silence. In my country Sierra Leone, mental health problems are very real. Many of our brothers and sisters suffer in silence. And in most cases, they are abused - calling them “crazeman or crazewomen.”


As leaders, it is our duty to raise awareness of mental health illnesses, educating the population and mobilizing efforts to support mental health.


Today, I join the many global leaders in the global community in raising awareness around mental health issues. If you are suffering silently, I encourage you to speak up. You are not alone on this journey. Let's fight the darkness together with a unifying voice.


Stay positive! Stay Healthy!


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