First Mental Health and Well-Being Conference opens in Accra
Only three out of every 100 Ghanaians who require mental health services in the country are getting it, a recent survey has revealed.
According to the survey, Ghana has a 41 per cent prevalence of psychological distress in various degrees, meaning as many as 47 people in every 100 admitted are under negative stress which affects them mentally.
Speaking at the opening of the first Mental Health and Well-Being Conference of Ghana organised by the Mental Health Foundation Ghana in Accra yesterday, the Chief Psychiatrist of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, Dr Akwasi Osei, emphasised that the current mental health situation in the country required a complete restructuring and overhauling.
‘At the moment mental health care is largely limited to the urban areas, specifically to the southern part of the country where the three psychiatric hospitals are situated,’ he said.
Even at the hospitals the emphasis had been more on medication with very little of other components of mental health like psychological services, occupational therapy, speech therapy and music and drama therapy, among others, Dr Osei added.
He pointed out that the human resource for psychiatric health was seriously inadequate with only 12 practising psychiatrists catering for 25 million people, when the country required not less than 150.
Furthermore, there were only 700 psychiatric nurses when the country required 3000 and four clinical psychologists when the country needed not less than 20 of them, he stated.
Dr Osei noted, however, that there was some hope for improvement as the Ministry of Health had already started the process of restructuring and overhauling the mental healthcare system.
Additionally, he said, a new Mental Health Act had also been enacted awaiting implementation soon.
Dr Osei hinted that alongside the intended restructuring was the contribution by various organisations and expressed his appreciation to the foundation for its support.
The Australian Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Joana Adamson, said in Australia one in every five people suffered from some form of illness at any one time and half of the population would experience mental illness sometime on their lives.
The Mental Health Foundation, with most of its members from Australia, aims at raising awareness towards the improvement of the mental health situation in the country.
By Mary Mensah/Daily Graphic/Ghana
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