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Ghana Declares May As ‘Purple Month’ For Mental Health Awareness 

Prof Pinaman Appau– CEO, Mental Health Authority

The Mental Health Authority has designated May as ‘Purple Month’ in a significant move towards promoting mental health wellbeing. 

The month is dedicated to mental health awareness at various public places and social media platforms.  

The initiative places Ghana in line with other countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, which also observe May for similar purposes. 

Professor Pinaman Appau, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Mental Health Authority, emphasised the need for extended awareness beyond the traditional World Mental Health Day, observed on the 10th of October, every year. 

“A single day is not enough to address the complex issues surrounding mental health. By expanding our focus to the entire month, we can make a more substantial impact,” said Prof. Appau. 

Hitherto, Ghana faced challenges with October’s overlapping observance of ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Month’, which shifted the focus on mental health issues.  

The shift to May is strategic, avoiding conflicts and maximising the impact of the awareness campaign. 

Ghana’s Purple Month is inspired by Mental Health America’s initiative started in 1949. 

 “We are adopting a model that has shown great success in other nations. Our goal is to boost mental health awareness, combat stigma, and celebrate recovery, making a genuine difference in the lives of Ghanaians,” Prof. Appau noted. 

Purple has been the emblematic colour of the Mental Health Authority since its inception.  

It symbolises a blend of the calming stability of blue with the vibrant energy of red.  

“This colour choice reflects the Authority’s commitment to providing hope and support to those affected by mental health conditions,” she said. 

“Purple stands for dignity, peace, and independence, all of which are critical in the context of mental health.” 

Mental health awareness is crucial for the holistic well-being of individuals across various dimensions of life. 

Unfortunately, stigma and lack of understanding often prevent people from seeking necessary help, thus, leaving them isolated and reducing their life quality and productivity. 

Therefore, the Purple Month seeks to change that by advancing mental health treatment and behavioural health education.  

“We aim to foster dialogue, encourage proactive approaches to mental health, and ensure early intervention,” stated Prof. Appau. 

This year’s theme is: “Movement: Moving for Our Mental Health.” 

According to the CEO the campaign aims to increase awareness about the significance of mental health and the beneficial impact of physical activity on psychological well-being. 

Prof Appau explained that more than 2.3 million Ghanaians experience mental health disorders, and this makes awareness, education, and support for mental health advocacy important now, than ever.  

“In keeping with the Authority’s mission to raise awareness among the public, elevate the voices of mental health service users and caregivers, and fight for the rights and needs of individuals impacted, this month-long campaign also exhorts people to include movement in their daily lives as a means of promoting mental wellness.” 

During the Purple Month, the Mental Health Authority focuses on key outcomes, including enhanced understanding of mental health symptoms. 

It noted that diagnosis of mental health conditions provides validation and facilitates access to appropriate treatments and coping mechanisms. 

There will be open discussions during the Purple Month to enable individuals to comprehend their experiences and seek support effectively. 

The Purple Month endeavours to bridge the gaps in understanding and combat the enduring stigma surrounding mental illness.  

Through education and awareness-raising activities, communities can shift their perceptions of mental health, fostering greater acceptance and support for individuals facing mental health challenges. 

It is expected that an enhanced mental health knowledge, educating caregivers, employers, parents, and the broader community about the impact on daily life is crucial for fostering supportive environments.  

By prioritising mental health care, communities can empower individuals to thrive and lead fulfilling lives. 

The Purple Month will highlight the distinction between mental health and mental illness, promoting mental well-being as a proactive approach to emotional health and cognitive agility.  

The Mental Health Authority is, therefore, inviting everyone to engage in Purple Month activities, including media campaigns, local events, and educational programmes.  

These initiatives are designed to enhance community support for mental health and encourage individuals to seek help and celebrate recovery. 

Source: GNA 

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