Ghana inaugurates Mental Health Board

Ms Sherry Ayittey - Health Minister
Ms Sherry Ayittey – Health Minister

The Mental Health Board was inaugurated on Tuesday with a call on members to establish a fund to ensure that the perennial lack of money for mental health becomes a thing of the past.

Health Minister Sherry Ayittey said an investment in mental health is necessary to protect human right and for socio-economic development.

The board was tasked to strengthen community awareness campaign that mental health disorders are treatable and preventable and also ensure early intervention programmes.

Members were also asked to provide adequate resources to protect the mental health of children, youth and identified high-risk groups, involving people with experience of mental health problems and their families.

Ms Ayittey said government considers mental health as a crucial issue for national development because the nation cannot create wealth for itself if the people are not healthy and productive.

“Consequently mental health will receive priority attention and will continue to give as situation demands. We are currently looking at increasing the feeding grant for patients at the psychiatric hospitals.

Professor Joseph B Asare, Chairman of the board said the vision for mental health in the country is in line with global action plan of World Health Organisation.

This, he, said, is to create a world in which “mental health is valued, promoted and protected: where mental disorders are prevented and affected person are able to exercise their full range of human rights and are able to access the highest possible level of health and participate fully in the society working in an environment, free from stigmatisation and discrimination”.

According to Prof Asare the Mental Health Act 846 is going to bring a revolution in mental health care, which would be human centred and every Ghanaian would have a role to play.

He noted that in the effort of improving health access to care, comprehensive community-based mental care services and integrating care and treatment into general hospitals and primary care would be implemented.

“Continuity of care between different providers and levels of health systems, with effective collaboration between formal and informal care providers would be pursued,” he said.

“We are aware of the woefully inadequate manpower situation and lack of mental health services in Ghana.

“We will continue to fast track production of well trained middle level manpower at the College of Health at Kintampo to help us accomplish our effort to encourage community health care.”

The College of Physicians and Surgeons currently has 10 students training to become specialists with some brilliant doctors expressing interest in specialising in psychiatry in addition to the accreditation to the OKomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital to train psychiatrist from 2014 to help increase specialist manpower.

Source: GNA

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