The CEO of the Mental Health Authority- Ghana, Dr Akwasi Osei, has said that the biggest problems bedevilling the mental health sector in Ghana are inadequate resources, over institutionalisation, over-medicalisation and over centralisation of mental health services. He said this on the GBC in-studio talk show, ‘Talking Point’ to mark the 2017 world mental health day.
The chief Executive indicated that even though the mental health situation in the country has improved following the passage of the Mental Health Law (Act 846), the sector was far from what it ought to be. He added that Government had so far failed to commit any resources into the mental health fund that had been set up as a provision of the Mental Health Law.
Dr Akwasi Osei recommended that mental health services needed to be integrated into the general health system. He said this would ensure that clients receive comprehensive care for their illness. He also indicated that the institution of the mental health levy would also ensure adequate resources for mental health management.
The Executive Director of BasicNeeds-Ghana, Badimak Peter Yaro, submitted that as someone who has worked predominantly in the communities, he would be surprised to find any individual who has been totally insulated from mental illness – be it of a relative, neighbour, colleague, an acquaintance or even him or herself.
He added that the era in which health managers prioritised communicable diseases over non-communicable diseases was gradually giving way to a new realisation that the major burden of illness facing the global population was non-communicable conditions. He, however, lamented that even among actors who acknowledge that non-communicable diseases should be prioritised, mental health still suffers a lack of prioritsation.
Peter Yaro affirmed that with proper treatment and adequate support, people with mental illness could become sufficiently healthy to engage in productive ventures. He therefore called for increased support to people with mental health needs to aid their recovery.