Delivering his maiden statement on the floor of Parliament on the state of Mental health in Ghana, the Member of Parliament for the Builsa South Constituency, Hon. Clement A. Apaak has described the difficulty at which mental health patients seek care as appalling, and therefore calling on the government, Parliamentary select committee on Health and all stakeholders to help support mental health by ensuring that, more and modern mental health facilities are built in the Northern sector to ensure that patients’ have easy access to mental health care.
Despite the passage of the Mental Health Act, 2012 (Act 846), he said, which among others seek to provide access to primary care for mental health and mental health facilities in the deprived parts of the country has not been met, five years on, since the law was passed.
“Mr. Speaker, we can’t live in a peaceful and freer country without addressing our mental health challenges. The bridging up of mental health facilities in the northern sector of the country and the modernization of all mental health facilities across the country is a must”.
“I reiterate my call on government to as a matter of urgency release funding for the Mental Health Authority to carry out its activities and work to achieve its aims and objectives”. Hon. Clement Apaak has urged.
In a country, he said, where Mental health facilities are in deplorable conditions, and most invariably we view mental diseases as spiritual courses, the need to tackle mental health is now, than ever before.
According to Hon. Apaak, the importance of mental health care cannot be underestimated since its ramification affects all and sundry. Challenges of mental health delivery like any other health challenge are varied and complicated. Anybody can be at risk of one mental health condition or the other”.
“Mr. Speaker, cases of mental related suicide cases are on the rise in recent time. A case in point is the alleged suicide of a final year student of the University of Ghana, Jennifer Nyarko, who allegedly jumped from the fourth floor of her Okuafo Hall Annex A, room 407 to her death on Wednesday 8th March, 2017”
This incidence follows a similar case of a student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Ghana (KNUST) a couple of weeks ago, Adwoa Agyarka Anyimadu-Antwi, who also allegedly committed suicide.
“ Incidentally, Mr. Speaker, the victim was a daughter to our own colleague Honorable Member, may their souls rest in peace. Many other incidences of mental-related suicides, murders and other forms of violence have being reported in the past” He observed.
Mr. Speaker, in Ghana, Mental health issues are considered an inconsequential matter or a spiritual issue and therefore have been relegated to the background to the detriment of mental patients.
It is time we all come together as a country to help fight against mental health by providing the needed facilities and attention to this dangerous but risky canker which is swiftly increasing in the country, especially in the Northern sector. He stated.
Story: Blessing Roselyn Boateng