MENTAL and EMOTIONAL RECOVERY HELPLINE (ME. Recovery Helpline)- a safe place to remember when in pain.

Our culture does not encourage opening up when in an emotional pain. In our part of the world, being able to shut up and swallowing it all up when in a mental or emotional pain is mistaken for strength.
Unfortunately, research has shown in other parts of the world in recent times that not opening up to reach out when in pain displays weakness and not strength at all.

To these parts of the world, when an individual Discover’s that he is in any form of emotional or mental pain, the first step he takes to seek help is a step towards recovery and healing and it is a sign of strength, good energy and hope.

The World Health Organization estimates that, in every forty seconds, a person dies of suicide in the world and there are lots and lots of people who attempt suicide but fail worldwide. This Statistics includes Africa and Ghana as well.

This point to the fact that we may be isolated geographically but what affects us psychologically is the same worldwide. Let me add that, when we say that we are not alone, we mean to say that, we are connected as a people emotionally and mentally.

Why then do we insist on silence when an individual is in an emotional or mental pain in our local communities?

I have discovered that, in times past, our people did not have systems available for people who needed help in these areas. Yes, psychologists and professional counselors have always been with us. Unfortunately, not anyone in crises could afford these services. Our people not knowing what to do, shifted the responsibility back to the sufferers and told them to be strong enough to swallow it up. This intervention has never been good enough as there are cases of suicide in Ghana too.People die of suicide or attempt suicide in Ghana too. The more we try to ignore this fact and treat, the subject as a taboo, the more people die. We cannot continue to keep the discussions closed as we are also in danger of it.

Three years ago, I sat in the call center of the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) in Johannesburg as a mental health advocate in training. SADAG is the leading mental health advocacy organization across Africa. Their impact on the country, South Africa in terms of education, support and advocacy in the field of mental health is amazing.
Education of mental health is advanced in the country and I can partly attribute this to SADAG’s work in the country.At the SADAG call center, I was impressed at the rate at which people reached out and called their helpline when in crises of various emotional and mental problems. When I think about the striking difference between Ghana and South Africa in terms of reaching out, I can say that culture plays a role.

Our people are taught to keep their pain to themselves; our people believe that silence is strength. This intuition can seemingly be equated to telling an Ulcer patient to keep the pain to themselves. If we find this impossible, then let us accept that, we have done more harm than good to the millions of people in our country who have had to deal with depression and other related issues.

We cannot continue to adjust to this way of life because of our lack as a people. For if we cannot tell the Diabetic patient to snap out and be strong because there are no hospitals available for their treatment, we should never under any circumstance tell the patient with depression not to be depressed or not to open up because we lack structures that can readily assist them.

We must break the culture. Keeping quiet is fatal when it comes to emotional pain. Mental illness does not heal in silence. We must break the chain of silence.
The first step in breaking the culture of silence is to ensure that there are structures available for people to reach out to when they find themselves in crises.

CNG Foundation has partnered with well-equipped psychologists and professionals in the mental health filed to provide free, confidential and professional counseling to people who battle with mental and emotional problems across Ghana. ME Recovery Helpline is a safe space where you can call to access free professional counseling when dealing with life and its many battles. All you need to do is to call our weekday evening helpline on 0302909104 or WhatsApp our 24-hour text line on 0242658035 so that a professional will be tasked to reach out to you. It is very simple to access everywhere you are and at any time.

We believe that this kind of help must be free in every country in the world. For we all need a shoulder to lean on when in pain. And what is real in South Africa and America and other parts of the world is equally real in Ghana; because we are connected to each other in this specific area. We are all at risk of depression and Suicide. We are all at risk of emotional pain sometimes. And the earlier we unlearn the culture of silence, the better it is for us all. We hear rumors and stories of suicide every now and then in our country in recent times. The first few weeks after the incident, we host grand media shows to discuss the subject. However, we forget as fast as possible when the pain of grief and loss is no longer in our hearts. And all of a sudden, the subject becomes a taboo to us.

LET US REMEMBER THAT SILENCE IS FATAL AND OPENING UP IS STRENGTH.

Okoman D/A Basic School

The 2018 new academic year begun with an outreach program across the rural communities in the central Region.
Our team traveled last Friday to the Okoman D/A basic school near Bodwiase in the central region to talk to learners on the topic; Gender Based Violence related TRAUMA. Our text questionnaires came with interesting responses. We are happy to have had the opportunity to reach out to learners in this awesome way #WeCare

In Pictures

WHEN FORCED GRATITUDE INTERFERES THE RECOVERY JOURNEY OF A TRAUMA SURVIVER.

In our Ghanaian society, gratitude is a virtue that is very important to all.
We are taught to be grateful for what we have.
We have learnt to be grateful for life even when things are not as blissful as we want them to be. Be grateful!! they would say to you.
However, forced gratitude just like premature forgiveness can interfere the journey through recovery of an individual who has endured a traumatic event and here is reason.
 Gratitude when forced on an individual discourages one from opening up. To tell a trauma surviver who is facing suicide crisis to be grateful he has life, is just like telling a person with a hole in heart condition to snap out of the pain and move on once there is life.  Is it too unfair to say that?  then we have been unfair too many times to people who looked up to us someway, somehow.
We all know the ethics of our tradition and we respect the code of gratitude that our culture has made us grow with over the last ten decades. Unfortunately, we are faced with a much bigger force and pressure to be grateful for life and for the basic necessities of life such that,one is forced out to become grateful instead of opening up about the battles they fight daily within.
We are all guilty of using gratitude wrongly to Interfere with the recovery process of family and friends.
Yes there is life which is an authentic evidence that there is hope; but what people struggle with, the silent battles that people fight are valid and it is unfair for us to interrupt their healing processes with forced gratitude. Next time when someone is in crisis,don’t bother to talk about being grateful!
And here is why;
1.What Forced Gratitude does to the victim in pain is that it makes him give up all attempts to open up and find help.
2. It breeds guilt. The feeling of sinfulness of ones inability to be grateful.
3. The victim feels hopeless as in terms much clearer ,society has no understanding what battles they fight.
Instead of forcing gratitude on your loved ones when they are in crisis and are in need of help, encourage them to open up and find help, listen to them as they tell you everything no matter how lengthy their talks are,encourage them to seek professional help.

You can as well call our 24 helpline at 0302909104 to find a friend who will walk with you through your difficult days. #WeCare

WHEN FORCED GRATITUDE INTERFERES THE RECOVERY JOURNEY OF A TRAUMA SURVIVER.

HOW THE WEATHER CAN AFFECT YOUR MOOD AND MAKE YOU HIT YOUR ‘DEPRESSIVE LOWS’

During these times when the weather seems cool with less sunshine and plenty of small rainfalls here and there, it is pretty much obvious that your mood will be quite low as a result of an Inflammation due to the fact that the body is not engaged in too many activities to enable your blood to flow in its right order.
There is the likelihood also for one to feel heavily broken and depressed.
We are aware that our environment has a role to play in some mental health issues.
There is the possibility of one to have the following physical signs:
1. Feeling slowed down or fatigued
2. Loss or gain of appetite
3. Feeling of loneliness and hopelessness .
4. Self denial; including one’s loss of interest in basic self care like , bathing , brushing and combing.
5. Difficult breathing or breathing very fast.
7. Loss of hope and thoughts of suicide.
If you are going through any of these physical symptoms, it is surely time to open up and seek help.
Opening up doesn’t mean anything apart from the fact that you are brave enough not to suffer alone.
Call the Helpline today and talk to someone who is more than willing to help you.
Call our 24 hour helpline at 0302909104.
We care so much about your well being and would be more than happy to walk through these times with you….
#WeCare

SEXUAL VICTIMISATION AND INCEST SHOULDN’T BE A SECRET.

While parenting may not be an easy time, there are a number of safety measures that a parent can put in place to ensure the safety of their children.
Women who were at one time molested by a family member at childhood are mostly at risk with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder .The following symptoms are evident as they grow with the memory of being victimised.
Often times,they live in shock, denial, confusion ,fear ,secrecy and destructiveness.
Re_experiencing the events through flashbacks, distressing images ,perceptions and night mares are evident of the fact that the individual is suffering from a terrible trauma that needs attention.
Usually, women who struggle with these fears try as far as possible to avoid talking about the event,they avoid places,people or things that are associated with the event. Hyper_ arousal or feeling on edge ,irritability and exaggerated startle or response to stimuli are often times present as they move through life.
While this traumatic event must not be kept a secret, there are instances when the real act of sexual victimisation and symptoms are undetected by parents owing to the secrecy of the behaviour and the fear of stigma attached to the event.
Sexual victimisation is a horrifying event that the individual may carry throughout her life time.
Research has shown that, this event usually occurs during late childhood for girls and if they are unable to find help,may live with it forever.
Parents must be alert to figure out any mood change as their girls transit from childhood through late childhood into becoming adults, teachers must join the fight against sexual victimisation in schools.
All stake holders are encouraged to be part of the life of the girl child as she grows .
To find confidential counselling on issues of sexual abuse,please call our 24 hour helpline at 0302909104.
We Care!

SUICIDE SHOULDN’T BE A SECRET

Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death. Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, personality disorders, substance and drug abuse, and alcoholism are risk factors to suicide. Truth from experience is that those who attempt suicide or commit suicide are not people who just feel like killing themselves. They are people who battle with an unending sorrow that seems just not to go away.

They are fighters just like we all are. The difference is that they fight inner battles; they struggle with things that they are unable to find meanings to or are afraid to open up about.
We all at one point or the other loose hope, we sometimes experience the lows; we have bad days at times.

But if you feel that you or anyone you know; a friend or a family member may be at risk with Suicide, it is surely time to open up and seek help. Talk to someone who can help you.
You can always find help by calling your country helpline.
Telephone counselling are usually a confidential way of finding help.

It gives you the opportunity to open up more without any form of direct judgement.
Whatever you do, please do not keep suicide a secret!
Call Helpline at 0302909104.

Grief; a time of growth

Anyone who is capable of loving someone is prone to grieve at least once in their lifetime.
Those lonely times when all the beautiful things in life are just but a wish, when you wish to hold hands with that dear friend just one last time.
When all you pray for is another Chance; a chance to laugh again and it seems like an impossibility.
In the midst of your grief, comes a time to learn and grow.

Here are a few important things to learn while grieve persists:
1. Your pain is valid and it makes a lot of sense that you feel this way.
2. Your struggle will soon be over if only you believe.
3. You have the right to turn your life around even though you can’t change the circumstances that caused you to grieve and pain.
Mastering these simple facts will help you grow in these very difficult moments of your life.

Finding light in the midst of life’s darkest moments

Life has a way of turning things around.
Turning things that we value most upside down.
Circumstances change hurtfully in our lives not because we caused them to change but because life happens every day.
Most often than not, we have no control over the loss of our loved Ones, we have no control over the bitter happenings of this world.
What we have control over however, is how we respond to life and its dramatic turn ups.

There is a shadow of light in all of life’s darkest moments.
It’s really a hard thing to look out for light in the midst of the turbulent wars of life; grief, loss, disappointments and heart breaks.
It is okay to cry; it is okay that you feel this way about your loss.
We are all happy when things go right and it is absolutely normal to be sad when things turn out bad.
But while tears roll down your face, please know that this phase of your life is not permanent.

Learn the lesson that your tears have taught you.
Look out for light in face of that heart break.
Look above your pain every day.
Soothe your soul with the little goodness that surrounds you and in no real time, you will just be alright.

By: Nancy Ewusie