The Mental Health Society of Ghana (MEHSOG) has called on government to increase investment in mental health as the sector receives only 1.4% of health spending. The group made the call at a workshop held in Accra and supported by World Health Organisation, Ghana SomubiDwumadie and UKaid.
At the workshop, Dr. Sammy Ohene, a Consultant Psychiatrist, said mental health faces so many problems, yet it lacks funding and personnel.
“It is bigger than any other sector, yet there is no investment in terms of money and personnel to work with,”Dr. Sammy Ohene stated.
According to him, everyone should treat their mental health seriously, as everyone is affected by mental illness. He went on to say that those who suffer from mental illness view things differently than those who do not, and that they should be regarded with extreme caution and respect.
He argued that since mental health can affect everyone, people should desist from the habit of ascribing it to other families.
The Consultant Psychiatrist cautioned that “if it (mental illness) does not affect you, your brother, your father or your mother, it will affect somebody you know and it will still have an effect on you.”
Speaking on mental health investment, Mental Health Advocate Abena Korkor Addo said Ghana currently has legal and policy framework to improve mental health services.
In her view, majority of people between 85% and 98% with mental health conditions in Ghana either cannot or do not access the treatment they require.
She noted that mental health receives only 1.4% of Ghana’s health spending and as a result, the burden of mental illness continues to rise, wreaking havoc on the country’s economic and social development, as well as the health and well-being of its citizens.
“Funds are urgently needed to implement mental health legislation and scale up implementation of Ghana’s mental health policies and strategies”, she added.
More investment in mental health, she believes, will revolutionise Ghana, resulting in greater economic growth, as well as improved citizen health and welfare.