Accra, March 18, GNA – The Chief Psychiatrist of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Akwesi Osei, Wednesday said mental health cases had seen an increase and linked it to the current power crisis the country was experiencing.
The condition he said were mainly associated with stress observed in business persons and workers as they crumbled under the pressures of the current general economic situation caused largely by the power crisis.
He told the GNA in an interview that ‘depression itself is a mental disorder, so is anxiety. Somebody becomes unduly anxious and apprehensive and that comes with all kinds of complications. Now if this continues for some time it can even manifest physically with you getting hypertension, stomach ulcer, worsening cases of diabetes’.
Dr Osei said somebody might come with depression ‘and then you realize there is stress going on in the mind which may have precipitated the depression. As we go further to find out his business is collapsing or has collapsed or he is not getting the returns that he expects and that is because of the uncertain power situation.’
He said the crisis had become really stressful ‘because for example at home you don’t have power to do what you want to, students studying don’t have an alternative when the lights go off. This can be really stressful situation and can no doubt cause mental defects.’
‘People who are in business suffer more than anybody, students, government workers … they are all suffering but business owners are mostly the victims especially small scale businesses,’ Dr Osei said.
A psychologist, Dr. Annie Gaisie, in an interview with an Accra Television station said she had been getting calls from students who complained of lack of sleep or inability to study because of the power crisis.
‘We’re not only talking about just a few individuals…. The power outage is all that people are talking about and you realize that they are distressed. We’re not only talking about business owners or the casual person walking on the street, we are talking about children and high school students as well who are complaining they can’t sleep properly and cannot do their work because of the power situation,’ she said.
According her, ‘majority of people are distressed and it cuts across a large portion of the population. People are not going home because they’re thinking by the time I get home the light is off and this is breaking marriages and distressing lots of people’
The new load shedding guide released by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) shows that large parts of the country are without light for 24 hours and 12 hours of light — a schedule that has been described as the worst in the country’s history.
Causes of the current power problem, according to the Power Ministry has been reduced to crude oil shortfall to power generating plants, low water levels in the Akosombo, Kpong and Bui dams.
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