Psychological aid critical to minimising disaster impacts on victims – Dr Hoedoafia

By Solomon Gumah, GNA

Tamale, Aug 29, GNA – Dr Rejoice Enyonam Hoedoafia, the Head of Mental Health, University for Development Studies (UDS) School of Medicine, says the application of psychology as first aid helps victims of disasters to overcome psychological trauma.

She said the impact of disasters could result in epidemics and create chaotic environments that required the application of psychology at the first instance to help stabilise the condition of survivors.

Dr Hoedoafia was speaking at a forum on Psychological First Aid where she educated participants on the impact of disasters and how to recognise common reactions in self and others.

The forum was organised by Total Life Enhancement Centre (TOLEC – GH), a psychology focused organisation advocating mental health and supplying psychological services in the Northern Region.

It brought together health workers, teachers, and civil society organisations to appreciate their role and share experiences in ensuring effective delivery of mental health services.

Mr Peter Amadu Mintir, the Executive Director, TOLEC – GH, said the forum was designed to help health workers and other caregivers to prioritise the mental health aspects of their clients as a more comprehensive approach to health care delivery.

Even though the mental health sector was bedeviled with challenges, it was important to empower the few professionals in the area with the expertise needed to meet the mental health needs of the citizenry, he said.

He called on government and non-governmental organisations to prioritise investing in the sector to guarantee the provision of holistic health needs of members of the public.

Dr Elsie Amaley Abakisi, the Psychiatrist at the Tamale Teaching Hospital, said the COVID-19 pandemic created a global mental health crisis, increasing the prevalence of anxiety and depression by 25 per cent.

Mr Abdul-Gafaru Yakubu, a nurse at the Tamale Teaching Hospital, commended TOLEC – GH for the initiative and said it was a platform worth sustaining to ensure caregivers on mental health were abreast of current trends.