The Resident Psychiatrist at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital has indicated that mentally challenged people on the streets will act nice towards people who reciprocate their niceness.
He said this in an interview with Roselyn Felli on Prime Morning, Thursday.
According to him, mentally-ill people attack when they perceive danger to their lives, saying that they are harmless.
“When you see someone who is mentally ill, the person is not necessarily going to attack you. Most of the time, they will attack when they perceive danger or a form of threat. And so if you see them and you’re nice to them, they’ll also be nice to you,” he said.
Recently, some mentally challenged people have invaded major streets in Accra, Takoradi, and Cape Coast, threatening the lives of people, leading to the killing of a motor rider at the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange in Accra.
The World Health Organisation estimates that close to 3 million Ghanaians live with mental disability, out of which 600,000 of the conditions are severe, with only three facilities to cater for these cases.
Also, one out of four people within the total population of Ghana needs mental health care, but there are not enough facilities to accommodate the affected people.
Speaking on the show, Dr. Azusong explained that people find it difficult to open up about their conditions due to the fear of stigma and neglect from other people and society.
… every workplace you go to, a lot of people have mental health issues. But most of these go under cover. We push them under the sheet and we say it’s just you, or it’s family or drugs. Because of that, it is difficult for people to come out and say I don’t feel well. I need to go and see a psychiatrist,” he explained.
In addition, he stated that not only the mentally ill persons found on the streets have severe conditions, but other people within society and the workplace are severely affected, saying it is difficult to detect.
He revealed that District Assemblies are responsible for capturing and reporting mentally-ill people on the streets to the psychiatric hospitals. He said the assemblies are given finances for the performance of such duties.
Using the mentally-challenged woman who killed a pedestrian at the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange as an example, Dr. Azusong urged families to report such cases of relatives suffering from mental illness early instead of waiting until it becomes worse.