Integrate mental healthcare into maternal health delivery – Specialist

Samuel Adadi Akapule, GNA

Bolgatanga, Aug. 23,
GNA – Dr Gordon Donnir, the Head of the Department of Psychiatry Unit of the
Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), has expressed concern about the high
rate of suicide and called for a National Policy directive on the Suicidal
Preventive plan.

He said such a plan
was very important for mental health delivery but it was beyond the means of
the health facilities.

“We need a national
policy that would bring uniformity across the country and to ensure that
programmes and policies are implemented efficiently at both the national,
regional and community levels to help in tracking and addressing the issue.

The Senior
Specialist Psychiatrist was speaking at a workshop “on the Edinburg Per-Natal
Depression Screening Toolkits” for Midwives, Community Psychiatrist Nurses and
Community Health Nurses organized by Basic Needs Ghana in Bolgatanga.

The event was aimed
at empowering the health workers to use the Edinburg Pre-Natal Depression
Screening Toolkits which had been recommended by the World Health Organization
(WHO) in integrating mental health care into maternal healthcare delivery.

Dr Donnir said most
suicidal tendencies were associated with depression which is a mental disorder
that could also be a predisposing factor to developing many diseases such as
diabetes, hypertension and asthma.

“In depression the
victim often loses the ability to control the mood which is equal to energy
loss. Depression for more than two weeks could lead to major health
complications and that confirms the urgency for the policy makers and the
government to pay special attention to the mental health sector”, he said.

Dr Donnir said apart
from victims of depression becoming addicted to drugs and other alcoholic
beverages, they could also become dependent and vulnerable.

To mitigate the
problem there is the need for a radical national policy, he said, and called on
policy makers and the government to initiate the process to help tackle the

Dr Donnir said apart
from engaging the community health nurses, psychiatrists and midwives in
handling mental illness, there is the need to include into the suicidal
preventive plan, relatives and caregivers of mental ill patients.

He urged relatives
and care givers of mental ill patients not to allow victims of depression to
sleep alone in their rooms and also ensure that they are kept away from harmful
tools from them since that could make it easy for some to commit suicide.


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