TOGO – The leading pan-African banking group, the Ecobank Group, is celebrating its ninth Ecobank Day, which is the Group’s flagship annual corporate and social responsibility event that ‘gives back’ to the local communities across its pan-African footprint.

This year Ecobank Day will be held on Friday 22 October with the theme ‘Mental Health – Time to Talk and Act!’.

It marks the final stage of Ecobank’s three-year campaign to raise awareness and help prevent Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

The highlight of this year’s campaign was a pan-African webinar on Friday 22 October.

The webinar showcased various experts on mental health, to discuss mental health challenges. There was also a range of activities across each of the Ecobank affiliates with various local public and private partners, aimed at raising awareness of mental health across all 33 countries where Ecobank operates on the continent.

Ade Ayeyemi, Ecobank Group Chief Executive Officer, said, “Mental health disorders are one of the most common Non-Communicable Diseases.”

They have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with quite a number of people suffering anxiety from social distancing and self-isolation, in addition to financial and health worries.

Mental health issues can happen to anyone and it’s important we start talking and acting on it. We should have a society where people feel comfortable to talk about their emotions, without stigma, discrimination or abuse.

Anyone suffering or experiencing mental health issues should be aware that they can get help. It’s time to talk and act on mental health.

Overall, there is a fundamental underinvestment in mental health that makes providing access to care incredibly difficult. There has been little progress in terms of government spending on mental health, which remains below US$ 1 per person in most countries of the Region.

This means that for most people, the lion’s share of mental health care costs are either borne by households and families, or that people needing care don’t receive it.

Ecobank Day is an annual event which was first held in 2013, focusing each year on a specific theme. These have been Education for young people in Africa (2013); Malaria prevention and control (2014); Every African child deserves a better future (2015).

Other projects in the programme are ICT education in schools and improving maternal health (2016); Safe water management (2017); Orphanages (2018); Cancer (2019); and Diabetes (2020).

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