Mr Christopher Ababio Boamah, a Psychiatry Nurse at the Psychiatry Unit Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH), on Monday advised families with relatives, who have some form of mental illness, to desist from taking them to traditional healers and instead send them to designated health facilities for treatment.
“Most people associate mental illness to spiritual cause so they resort to herbalists for cure while some people also feel ashamed to take their sick relatives to mental health facilities so they keep them in their various houses whereas they need urgent professional care,” he said.
Mr Boamah, who disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said most mental illness like epilepsy, hallucination and aggression could be managed.
“So far with the support of an NGO called Basic Needs Ghana, 30 people have been stabilized and have formed an association called Self Help Group who are working and contributing to national development.
“It will interest you to know that most of these people have special talents and are working in different field of endeavor such as farmers, traders, carpenters and bicycles repairers to support economic growth,” he said.
Mr Dokurugu Adam Yahaya, Project Coordinator of Basic Needs Ghana told the GNA that although people with mental illness had the right to medical care, the three northern regions had less than 50 personnel working as psychiatry nurses.
He said most of the health facilities in the regions had no dedicated unit that takes care of the health needs of people with mental illness.
Not only that but Mr Yahaya said the supply of psychotropic medication to the region was inadequate and called on the government to make the sector a priority.
“Access to mental health care is a right and the earlier authorities pay attention to these marginalized people the better for us all,” he said.