Funding shortfalls, neglect of laws eroding progress in mental health

Prof Pinaman Appau – CEO, Mental Health Authority

The Ghana Mental Health Authority says funding shortfalls and neglect of laws are eroding progress made in addressing mental health in the country.

A statement issued by Professor Pinaman Appau, Chief Executive Officer of the Authority and copied to the Ghana News Agency, noted that despite some progress made in mental health over the years, gaps still existed.

The Authority stressed that challenges with inadequate funding, lack of implementation of sections of the Mental Health Act (Act 846, 2012), poor mental health literacy, and subpar inter-sectoral collaboration, among others, required more deliberate actions and commitment for resolution.

It also noted that Section 73 of the Mental Health Act enjoined District Assemblies, social welfare services, security services, health professionals, family members, and all citizens to play specific roles in the care of persons with mental disorders found in public places.

The statement is occasioned by two recent incidents in the country. 

The first incident is about a two-year-old who was in a critical state after allegedly assaulted by a person with a mental disorder found in a public place, who repeatedly smashed her head on the ground.

The victim was eventually discharged from the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, but requires further outpatient management.

The second tragic incident involved a patient allegedly suspected of experiencing some symptoms of mental health illness abandoned in a bush at Gomoa Ojobi in the Central Region after being on hospital admission at the Trauma and Specialist Hospital, Winneba. 

The victim was later found dead by community members.

The statement said those incidents drew attention to the negative outcomes of stigmatisation, discrimination, and a general lack of concern for those who were thought to suffer from mental health illnesses. 

The statement said the Authority would continue to work with all relevant stakeholders to advocate further advancements in the Mental Health Act’s implementation at all levels. 

The Authority pleaded with the government, stakeholders, CSOs, the private sector, and the public for support to ensure the improvements envisioned by the Act, the statement said. 

Source: GNA

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