Youth Mental Health in Ghana

TThe Executive Director of the Research and Grant Institute of Ghana (ReGIG) led a stakeholder engagement workshop to share and discuss research findings on the mental health of young people in Ghana.

Young people are predisposed to a range of mental health issues, similar to their counterparts in other Africa countries. However, there is no comprehensive data and understanding of the mental health landscape and ecosystem pertaining to young people in Ghana. The Grand Challenges Canada / Grands Défis Canada, through the Being Initiative, responded to this gap by funding a program to unveil the mental health ecosystem for young people in Ghana.

The project implementation team conducted a series of activities. These include a scoping review of the literature spanning 2003 to 2023, and a series of stakeholder consultations with diverse groups, including students, policy makers, practitioners and researchers. The findings from these activities were synthesized to produce an understanding of the mental health situation in Ghana for young people

The research identified common mental health issues and their drivers. Depression, anxiety, substance use, suicidal behaviours etc emerged as the top most mental health issues among young people in Ghana. Exposure to adversities, including bullying in school, maltreatment, disruptive parenting practices, psychological vulnerabilities, climate change and migration, were identified as the main drivers of mental health issues in young people.

The current discussion is focused on addressing bullying and related drivers in a sustainable way, and youth mental health ecosystem strengthening to promote policy and practice change at the national level in Ghana.