After a year and a half of psychological crisis, as a result of some videos of her going viral, Nana Abena Korkor Addo, a final year student of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), has told Showbiz that more has to be done for people with psychological problems.
In the video which leaked online, Nana Abena was seen doing a ‘strip tease’ in the presence of a female friend.
Recounting her experience to Showbiz, Nana Abena said the conditions at the ward of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital where she was undergoing treatment were so deplorable that she had to run away from the institution.
She added that the lack of a support system for people suffering mental conditions meant she and many like her, had to suffer without much assistance from society or institutions such as her school.
“I had my parents and a few others to support me but it’s difficult for them to do so when they have not experienced the condition themselves and have very little idea of what I was going through. There were times when my medication got mixed up and other similar situations. What we need is a support group similar to the Alcoholic Anonymous that will provide assistance for people who need it,” she said.
Nana Abena said that institutions of higher learning such as the UCC were also ill-equipped to deal with students who suffer psychological conditions.
“Even the counselling unit of the university lacks the expertise to adequately cater for students who might be suffering from conditions such as depression. How many students even patronize their services even though they might genuinely be in need of assistance. I personally had a lot of support from the Dean of Students for which I am grateful,” she said.
Speaking on her transition back to school following the incident, she told Showbiz that her absence from school adversely affected her academic performance and she has had to repeat a year of school due to “ administrative errors”.
“My grade points has dropped from 3.7 to 1.5 and I have to take new classes, dropping some others I was doing previously. The medication I am taking can have adverse effects, sometimes it makes me sleepy the entire day and at other times it leaves me stressed out and I can’t sleep the entire night. I am taking things one step at a time and things are improving,” she said.
She said she had generally received positive encouragement from students and some faculty at the university with many impressed by her decision to return to school.
“The reaction has been generally positive and those who have negative things to say cannot do so to my face but write on my social media pages but I am not disturbed because I am not a bad person. Everyone has a private life and the video was not made for public viewing. Why would I deliberately leak the video when I was vying for the position of SRC president,” she said.
Nana Abena said she had established an organisation, PsychoSocial Africa, with the view to highlight the importance of mental health and distress to create awareness and offer mental distress education to empower individuals struggling with such issues.