The number of people affected are significant. In The Gambia, it is esitimated that about 120, 00 people have a mental disorder requiring treatment (27, 000 affected by severe mental illness; a further 91,000 affected by moderate to mild disorder). However, in an avrage year only 3,000 or so people recieve treatment. This means that almost 90% of people with severe mental disorder in The Gambia are left without access to the treatment they needed.
All too ofton mental disorder go undetected, or are wrongly attributed to supernatural forces,witchcraft or "moral weakness" and this, together with the lack of access to care and inadequate care.
Mentalillness is an avoiadble cause of unnecessary sufferng in The Gambia. It is a major concern as prevalence is high and access to treatment low leading to many devastating consquences for individuals and families affected.
The Department of State for Health and Social Welfare in The Gambia is working to reduce the treatment gap, and to provide high quality mental health care to those in need: