15th July 2024

It has emerged that two professions in the country whose practitioners suffer from “poor mental health state” are journalism and security services.

According to a study conducted by the Ghana Psychological Association (GPA), personnel in the two sectors experience “emotional constipation”, as they cannot express their grievances due to their job descriptions.

The poor mental state, the association explains, stems from poor working conditions personnel in the two sectors are exposed to.

The study, conducted into the psychological wellbeing of personnel in the media and security services in 2019 and 2020, brought to the fore that many personnel in the two sectors also suffer from what is termed “occupational reality shock”. This is because their perceptions of the professions before they join them are entirely different from what they experience in reality.

This was disclosed at the launch of the 2021 Psychological Week Celebration in Accra this week. President of the GPA, Dr Collins Badu Agyemang, said the situation could be largely attributed to the poor human resource management structures in the two sectors.

“We found that many employees within these two industries are experiencing what we call emotional constipation. What it means is that they go through many difficult experiences, but because of their job description and the nature of their work, they are not able to speak a word.

“We also found occupational reality shock, something that distresses a lot of these employees, especially when they got on board and realised this was not what they thought the work was about and straight away they become psychologically withdrawn from the organisation,” he said.

Way forward

Dr Agyemang therefore urged media owners as well as the leadership of the various security agencies to prioritise the wellbeing and psychological health of their personnel to enable them discharge their duties effectively and contribute to national development.

He also appealed to the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) to push for mental health as part of the training of journalists to empower them to overcome the challenges they may encounter on the field of work.

A Senior Lecturer and Social Psychologist at the Psychology Department of the University of Ghana, Dr Wiafe-Akenten Brenya, expressed concern that little attention had been paid to psychological wellbeing as an important aspect of humanity. He stated that focus had always shifted to tangible issues such as hunger, disease and poverty.

He stressed that the mental wellbeing of the citizenry should be taken seriously as it has a direct linkage to productivity and the economic transformation of the country.

“The moment an individual’s psychological wellbeing is adversely affected, it invariably affects the person’s orientation, utterances, actions and productivity,” he said.

Psychological Week

This year’s Psychological Week celebration, which commenced on Tuesday, is being held on the theme “Psychological wellbeing: The bedrock of nation building.”

Spearheaded by the GPA, activities outlined for the commemoration include nationwide media engagements and sensitisation, community and school engagements, a lecture on psychological wellbeing, among others.

Dr Agyemang said the association would use the week-long celebration to create awareness of the impact of mental wellbeing on economic and social development, and also highlight the essence of the work of psychologists in the health delivery architecture.

“We have also launched the 10P campaign, which means that each one of us should speak to 10 people about the relevance of having a healthy psychological wellbeing. If you speak to 10 people, you urge them to also speak to 10 people,” he said.

 

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