The use of words such as “madman” “lunatic” and ‘imbecile” in reportage were considered dehumanizing. Such words stigmatization the patients and could attract a penalty under the Mental Health Act.
Ms Dorothy Owusu-Ansah said this at a workshop on the Mental Health Act for media personnel drawn from selected media houses in the Eastern Region at Koforidua.
She said publication that make use of such words could attract a fine of 500 penalty units, which is equivalent to GHC6,000.00 or two years imprisonment or both.
Ms Owusu-Ansah pleaded with the media practitioners to stop the intrusion into the affairs of mental health patients by making reference to past mental conditions of persons seeking positions in society because it could infringe on the rights of the affected persons under the Act.
She explained that the medical records of a mental ill person could not be disclosed to a second person without the written consent of the person unless it is required by a court of law or for the protection of society.
Ms Akosua Serwa Bunso, Eastern Regional Mental Health Coordinator, appealed to heads of health institutions to help create space in their facilities for the establishment of mental health departments to help mental health care to be brought closer to the people