40% of Ghanaians are Psychologically Distressed – Dr. Kwesi Osei

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About 40% of Ghanaians have one form of psychological distress or another contributing to about 7% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) loss, this is according to Dr. Kwesi Osei, the Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority (MHA) has said.

Mental illness according to him reduces lifespan by as much as 12 to 20 years and the high suicide rate of 1,500 deaths per year can be attributed to one mental disorder or another. Dr. Osei also revealed that many social vices and heinous crime were committed by people with mental illness.

40% of all cases at any general hospital, he said, have some relationship with mental health problem. Over 300 types of mental illness, the Chief Executive Officer of Mental Health Authority said exists.

Speaking at a mental health stakeholders meeting in Accra, he called for, speeding passage of the Legislative Instrument [LI] on Ghana’s Mental Health Act. Dr. Osei also said there was the need to reconstitute the governing council of the mental health board which GhanaNewsOnline.com.gh has gathered had not been in place for the past two years.

Commenting on the passage of the mental health bill, the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye assured stakeholders in the mental health care that the House will work towards the passage of the LI on Ghana’s Mental Health Act.

The 2nd Lady, Mrs Samira Bawumia in her delivery called for collaborative effort to tackle mental health issues. She said “Mental illness can affect anyone. People pretend they are okay. Families and friends turn a blind eye. It is attributed to all sorts of superstition or they are in denial, probably in fear of stigmatization, until it is too late.”

Mental health according to her was not a challenge for those who suffer from mental illness but also their dependants including the society at large.

Ms. Priscilla Owusu Sekyere, the country manager of Johnson and Johnson on her part, said, her outfit was fostering mental health partnerships with stakeholders to ensure that no patient was left behind.

She stated that Janssen was leading efforts at transforming mental health care by raising awareness, reducing the stigma associated with mental illness, building the capacity of healthcare professionals and improving access to health care.

The meeting was organized by the Mental Health Authority, in collaboration with Johnson and Johnson, a pharmaceutical and cosmetic company. It was on the theme: “Carving the Ideal Mental Health Journey through Strategic Partnerships.”

Source: Adovor Nutifafa

dovor100@gmail.com

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