Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, Dr. Francis Kateh
Dr. Kateh Wants Treatment For Depression Prioritized
By Wilfred Gortor
MONROVIA, April 7 (LINA) - The Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, Dr. Francis Kateh, has called on Liberians to pay keen attention to people struggling with depression by aiding and encouraging them to seek timely treatment for mental health disorder.
Dr. Kateh said depression, which is a critical mental health disorder, can be prevented and treated, but cautioned Liberians struggling with such disorder to seek timely medication, to prevent it from degenerating beyond control.
Kateh made the comments against the backdrop that Liberia as a founding Member of the World Health Organization (WHO), will form part of the 70th World Health Day celebration which will be observed on April 7, under the theme: "Depression."
World Health Day is celebrated on April 7 every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of the WHO.
Kateh said as a result of the psychological impact of Liberia's 14-year civil upheaval coupled with the recent Ebola Virus Disease outbreak, an estimated 1.5 million Liberians are struggling with depression, something, he said, needs serious attention.
The CMO believes that the psychological impact occasioned by these tragic events in Liberia is also contributing to the limited performance and contribution of some Liberians to the growth and development of the nation because they were left in a poor mental state after these crises.
According to the WHO, depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide.
Its latest estimates show that more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of 18 percent between 2005 and 2015.
The WHO says lack of support for people with mental disorder, coupled with fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy and productive lives.
According to the WHO, increased investment will be required to combat the disorder. It says in many countries, there is no or very little support available for people with mental health disorders.
It stated that in high-income countries, nearly 50 percent of people with depression do not get treatment.
"An average of just three percent of government health budgets is invested in mental health, varying from less than one percent in low-income countries to five percent in high-income countries," the WHO stated.