The neglect of mental health and related issues has made it difficult to get data on mental health, including suicide, the Director of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, Dr Pinaman Appau, has indicated.
She said the situation had also led to inadequate mental health personnel, lack of funding and the non-passage of a legislative instrument to back the Mental Health Act, Act 846, which was passed in 2012.
Dr Appau made the disclosure at a ceremony in Accra Wednesday to outdoor an ambassador for the hospital.
The ambassadorial initiative seeks to solicit funds to support the running of the hospital and change the negative perception of mental health which disassociates patients from society.
The award-winning broadcaster and former presenter of the popular “Who wants to be rich?” programme, Mr Kafui Dey, was named as the emissary of the hospital.
Mr Dey, who is currently a presenter on GhOne Television and has over 20 years’ experience in media, sales and marketing, will work with the hospital for two years.
He will use his two-year engagement to solicit GH₵500,000 to undertake projects at the hospital.
Dr Appau noted that the risk of suicides had increased about 15 fold in mental disorders and about 90 per cent of those who died from suicide had diagnosable mental disorder which was, basically, as a result of severe depression.
“Some 9,523 cases of mood disorders were recorded at the hospital in 2016 and the figures from the other psychiatric hospitals, including community health units and general hospitals, will amaze you,” she said.
In that light, she called for a concerted effort at improving the quality and access to mental healthcare in the country, adding that the use of personality branding by the hospital was a way to solicit funds to address the acute challenges of the hospital.
“Our task is huge and our challenges are enormous, but personalities such as our ambassador will help the hospital to see a facelift,” she said.
Dr Appau said the hospital was engaging in a project in aid of refurbishment and the purchase of laboratory equipment and an electro-convulsive therapy machine which was of essence in the treatment of mood disorders.
For his part, Mr Dey underscored the need to erase the stigma attached to mental health delivery in the country.
“At least, we all have or know people who have suffered from mental disorders in society but society has disassociated itself from such people,” he said.
He promised to use his goodwill and support to do everything within his power to promote a new phase of mental health delivery at the hospital.
Mr Dey urged the public, including corporate bodies, to make mental health issues a concerned agenda in the country.