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Gov’t urged to prioritise mental health and wellbeing for Ghanaians

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The Alliance for Mental Health and Development (Mental Health Alliance) has called on the government to, as a matter of urgency, channel more resources towards ensuring that mental health is more accesible and affordable.

The Alliance for Mental Health and Development (Mental Health Alliance) is a national network of over three hundred CSOs, NGOs, and CBOS engaged in mental health advocacy in Ghana. It has eight regional chapters in the Upper East, Upper West, Northern (Northem, Savannah and North-East) and Brong Ahafo.

The Alliance shared these sentiments in a statement copied to this website on the ocassion of the World Mental Health Day.

“As Ghana joins the rest of the world to celebrate the 2022 World Mental Health Day under the theme, Making mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority, the Alliance for Mental Health and Development [Mental Health Alliance] is concerned that persons with mental health conditions in Ghana experience many challenges in addition to their mental ill-health. The challenges among others include social stigma, discrimination, social exclusion, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and access to justice.”

“These challenges negatively affect the quality of life of persons with mental health conditions, leaving them marginalised, poorer and less empowered than the rest of society. Many African countries, including Ghana, experienced their worst economic recession in more than 50 years in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as their GDP declined by 2.1 percent.”

The COVID pandemic, according to the Alliance worsened the already debilitating effects of mental health patients.

“COVID-19 had debilitating effect on people’s mental health and wellbeing. The impact was worse for persons with mental health conditions and their primary caregivers, and this lingers on. This among others includes increase in loneliness, anxiety, depression, insomnia, harmful alcohol, and drug use, and self-harm or suicidal behaviour.”

“Investment in mental health is low, ranging between 0.5 to 1.9 percent particularly, in low-and middle-income countries. This situation has experienced very little improvement. Our beloved country Ghana spends just 1.4% of total government health expenditure on mental health, and so the burden of mental ill health continues to grow, with serious consequences for the country’s economic and social development, as well as the health and wellbeing of its people.”

“This years’ World Mental Health Day celebration provides us with a unique opportunity to revisit our mental health policy, and Mental Health Act 2012, Act 846 which provides equal opportunity for everyone to enjoy mental health and to exercise their human rights.”

The Alliance for Mental Health and Development (Mental Health Alliance) was agained worried about the long delay in implementing key provisions of the Mental Health Review Tribunal and the Mental Health Act 2012, Act 846.

The Mental Health Alliance called on the Board of Mental Health Authority to, “establish Regional Visiting Committees Prioritise adding mental health to the National Health Insurance Scheme We also call on government to prioritise investment in mental health to enable the Mental Health Authority to deliver on its mandate, so that every Ghanaian will enjoy mental health and wellbeing to the optimum.”

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana

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