Ghana loses 7% of GNP to improper mental healthcare

Professor Angela L. Ofori–Atta, the Chairperson of the Ghana Psychology Council (GPC), says approximately seven per cent of Ghana’s Gross National Product (GNP) is lost to improper mental healthcare of citizens.

She said many industries lost productivity due to the less importance paid to employing industrial or organisational psychologists into their various fields to monitor and evaluate the input of the workforce.

Prof. Ofori-Atta, therefore, tasked leadership of institutions and organisations to employ the services of psychologists to help reduce the burden of emotional and mental disorders in schools, the workplace and communities to increase productivity and restore the seven per cent deficit of the GNP.

She noted that investing such services was one of the best and surest ways to protecting people and promoting national development.

Prof. Ofori-Atta said this at the Ghana Psychology Council’s Second Induction ceremony for 352 Licensed Psychologists, Paraprofessionals in Psychology and Lay Counsellors in Accra, on the theme: “Securing the Profession, Protecting the People.”

Under Act 857, the core functions of practitioners are to teach, heal and research to maintain and promote emotional and mental wellbeing of the people.

Prof. Ofori–Atta, however, cautioned practitioners not to abuse the powers given in their bid to counsel their clients.

She further urged them to seek evidence-based best practices in industry, health, education and research and work within their mandate.

Touching on children, Prof. Ofori-Atta noted that mildly-intellectually challenged and learning disordered children were not assessed and helped to reach their potentials.

“We are losing the uplifting effects of geniuses who drop out of school because classrooms are too boring and not equipped with educational psychologists,” she said.

“Our children and adults made ill by trauma have nowhere to turn to

But to prayer camps where their very human rights are taken away from them.”

Prof. Ofori–Atta observed that television programmes were not monitored in order to prevent children from being exposed to violence and wrong values.

Mr Kweku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health, in a speech read on his behalf, noted that the role of practitioners, under Act 857, in promoting and maintaining emotional and mental wellbeing of the people, could not be overemphasised.

He lauded the role of several hundreds of practitioners in religious and community-based organisations who have supported many Ghanaians through thick and thin.

Mr Agyeman-Manu said where there were psychologists, the burden of emotional difficulties was reduced resulting in increased productivity and rise in learning potentials.

He charged the Ghana Psychology Council to regulate discipline and best practices in Applied Psychology as well as ensure the absence of abuse of power among some practitioners.

Mr Agyeman-Manu appealed to the GPC to expedite the completion of its Legislative Instrument so it would be put before Parliament by mid next year.

Rev. Dr Dinah Baah-Odoom, the Registrar of GPC, said the theme sought to protect citizens from charlatans and extortionists.

She said the Council also sought to ensure that practitioners adhered to the highest standards in the practice of Applied psychology in the country.

The Council, the Registrar noted, will be conducting periodic monitoring of professional standards and conducts of licensed professionals.

Source: GNA

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