The Mental Health Board has launched its maiden celebration on theme: “Quality mental health care for all persons in Ghana”.
Dr Akwasi Osei, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority, said the Board found it necessary to commemorate the anniversary, especially with the enactment of the Mental Health Act, which is a milestone in the development of Ghana.
He said a study conducted in 2009 showed that 41 per cent of Ghanaians have psychological distress and for 19 per cent, the phenomenon is severe enough to be considered mental disorder.
“Equally disturbing for a country in a low middle income bracket hoping to reach upper middle income status is that, this extent of distress constitutes seven per cent of GDP loss,” he said.
He said while the dreaded HIV and AIDS contributes to seven per cent disability adjusted life years loss in Ghana, neurological and psychiatric disorders contribute to 9.8 per cent loss.
“The worrying development in all this is that, as a nation we do not have the necessary resources to deal with these problems and it is estimated that for every 100 people who require mental health care, only two per cent are getting some form of care and even so this is quality enough.
“Our only three psychiatric hospitals are located at the coastal part of the country leaving middle and northern belts underserved,” he said.
He said human resource is also highly inadequate and while it requires not less than a 100 psychiatrists for a population of 25 million, the country has only 14 practicing psychiatrists.
“In this light the passage of the Mental Health Act becomes a most welcome development to change the paradigm and since the Mental Health Board was formed it has set out to systematically implement the provisions of the Act,” he said.
Dr Osei said activities lined up for the anniversary celebration starting Wednesday April 22, to Sunday April 26, include a float through the principal streets of Accra, public lecture, gala match between three psychiatric hospitals with teams to be raised among patients and staff.
The rest are Muslim prayers to be held on Friday April 24, launch of the Mental Health Fund on Saturday April 25, to be attended by Otumfuo Osei Tutu, the Asantehene and thanksgiving service at the Ridge Church near Efua Sutherland Park on Sunday April 26.
Nana Amba Eyiaba I, Krontihemaa of Ogua, who was the chairperson for the occasion, urged all to support the Board for the implementation of provisions of the Mental Health Act.