Gov’t urged to improve funding for mental health care

The Ghana Mental Health Authority has appealed to government to commit resources to funding mental health care, by employing mental health professionals to improve the country’s worsening mental health situation.

According to the Deputy Director of Community Care at the Authority, Mrs. Priscilla Tawiah Elikplim, regular funding of mental health and recruitment of clinical psychologists and counselors is critical to ensuring that, the populace remains mentally healthy.

Speaking at Mental Health Services 2016 Annual Regional Performance Review in Bolgatanga, Mrs. Elikplim bemoaned the shortage of antipsychotic medicines at all public mental health facilities due to government’s inability to supply the drugs for close to three years, thus affecting mental health delivery.

Priscilla Tawiah Elikplim

Priscilla Tawiah Elikplim

“Government is supposed to fund mental health care, but the funding is not coming leading to no government sponsored free antipsychotic medicines like Risperidone, Olanzapine, injectables and other tablets  which are not coming for almost 3 years now. But we are currently relying on benevolent donors and philanthropists, sometimes they will donate near expiring medicines to us, with the lifespan of the medicine being just a month but is better than none.”

She appealed to the Minister of Health, Kwaku Aygemang-Manu, to adequately fund mental health care, especially regular supply of anti-psychotic medicines since they were left at the mercy of donor support.

Mrs. Elikplim also appealed to government to recruit Clinical Psychologists and Psychiatrists to improve mental health care, and educate the public on psycho-social disorders.

She appealed to Parliament to pass the Legislative Instrument (LI) on Mental Health to give legal backing to the Mental Health Authority to function effectively.

Mrs. Elikplim stressed that, the passage of the LI would not only make the state commit more resources to addressing issues relating to mental health, but would ensure that all stakeholders in support of the mentally ill live up to their tasks and responsibilities.

By: Frederick Awuni/