Drug addicts in the Upper East Region now resort to sniffing petrol to get intoxicated.
This phenomenon, according to the Upper East Regional Health Directorate, is coupled with the use of hard drugs such as cocaine, marijuana and alcohol abuse.
Mr. Lucio Dery, Director of Health Services in the Region, who disclosed this said the incident was leading to the increase of mental cases.
This, he said, was a big problem when it comes to mental health as the youth who were supposed to be leaders and the drivers of the economy were not healthy in the head due to substance abuse.
“As a region, we are aware of the abuse of various substances that are leading to the high rise of mental cases, so we should not pretend that we do not have problems when it comes to mental health,” Mr Dery made this revelation during a dissemination workshop on Mental Health.
The workshop, organized by Basic Needs for key stakeholders in health, was on the key provisions of the mental health law (Act 846) in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.
Mr. Dery said there was the need to intensify concerted efforts in educating the public about the magnitude of mental health problems that confront the region, and together, chart a common way forward in dealing with the issue.
He said the mental health law had a lot of implications for the region because of its mental health status, indicating that the region had high cases of psychosis and epilepsy.
“We are to take this opportunity to educate ourselves as to our roles and responsibilities as stakeholders in health and for that matter making sure we are providing quality care services and support services as families, friends and the general public, to those who are afflicted by this unfortunate condition,” he said.
The Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Mental Health Authority, Dr. Akwasi Osei, said mental health which was in a silent crisis, was now screaming for considerable attention nationally and worldwide.
He said mental health care in the country was bedeviled with a lot of challenges, indicating that the three Northern Regions were the most underserved in terms of mental health care; as there was no psychiatric hospital in those areas with only one Psychiatrist serving these areas.
He said the Brong Ahafo region had one psychiatrist who is on retirement, the Volta Region; one, the Ashanti Region; three of which one was on retirement, the Central Region; three, the Greater Accra region; seven while the Eastern Region has none.
Dr. Osei said the Mental Health Act would provide remedies to challenges that bedeviled Mental Health Care in the past, indicating the Act, among others, provided the procedures for admission and treatment of mental health patients, their basic human rights, complaints about management and offences committed against them which requires prosecution.