A mental illness analysis presented to the Ministry of Health (MoH) disclosed that from the estimated 70 million adults and
youth in Ethiopia, 27 percent of adults and youth, live with some form of mental illness. The analysis which excluded
children looked at a wide range of mental health issues. Drug and alcohol addiction, extinction of traditional family structure,
desperation, lack of job security, shortage of Psychiatrists, Psychologists and other mental health practitioners, and a non-
peaceful environment are among the factors leading to an increase in the number of mental health problems. The meta
analysis randomly gathered ten years of data. Experts have raised alarm over the likely increase of mental health cases if
urgent attention is not paid to some of the underlying factors that may fuel the upsurge. Abebeaw Ayele, Non-Communicable
Disease prevention case team leader told Capital that all stakeholders should work on this problem to save future danger.
“Recognize signs of developing mental health problems and provide information about sources of help. Also, institutions
should address the relationship between mental health, substance abuse and other negative coping behavior, as well as the
negative impact of stigma towards mental illness.”
He went on to say that, “Young people spend most of their day at school; it just makes sense to have mental health awareness
and education become part of the curriculum. When we empower them, they will be able to get the help they need. To ensure a
mentally aware and healthy Ethiopia in the future, there is an obvious need to establish robust mental health law, policy and
regulation. These should include not only measures for treatment, but also for the prevention of mental illness. There should also
be evidence-based recognition and definition of the wide range of mental illnesses to enable the adoption of case specific
treatment protocols rather than lumping all cases of mental illness together.” In Ethiopia only Emmanuel Hospital works on
specialized mental treatment. Apart from that small clinics and health stations treat some mental health problems.
A mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling or mood. Such conditions may affect someone’s ability
to relate to others and function each day. Each person will have different experiences, even people with the same diagnosis.
Recovery, including meaningful roles in social life, school and work, is possible, especially when you start treatment early
and play a strong role in your own recovery process. A mental health condition isn’t the result of one event. Research
suggests multiple, linking causes. Genetics, environment and lifestyle influence whether someone develops a mental health
condition. A stressful job or home life makes some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events like being the victim
of a crime. Biochemical processes and circuits and basic brain structure may play a role, too. Half of mental health
conditions begin by age 14, and 75% of mental health conditions develop by age 24. The normal personality and behavior
changes of adolescence may mimic or mask symptoms of a mental health condition. Early engagement and support are
crucial to improving outcomes and increasing the promise of recovery. (Capital Ethiopoia)