The Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority (MHA), Dr. Akwasi Osei, called on health workers to be circumspect in handling mental health issues at their various workplaces in order to enhance productivity.
Dr. Osei said, it is very crucial in the absence of the recognition and good reception of mental health problems at their workplaces, and could even result in poor employee performances and output, which could dwindle the profit margin of the institution and as well as the development of the nation.
Dr. Akwasi Osei was speaking at the Press Lunch to the 2017 Mental Health Week celebration dabbed: ‘MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE’, on Monday October 9, 2017, at the International Press Centre in Accra.
According to him, even though employers often times complains about low productivity, regular absenteeism and poor attitudes of some members of staff, they failed to attribute the happenings to mental health challenges, of which stress may be a catalytic factor.
Adding that, available studies showed that, 41% of Ghanaians were suffering from psychological distress, which accounted for about 7% loss of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, as a result of poor job output.
Dr. Osei revealed that, “currently, one out of five people had a mental health challenge, and of the four left it was likely that one more person would suffer the same condition before their death, and then urged all stakeholders to join hands in addressing the growing public health challenge.”
The mental health issue he said, is very serious and could affect anyone regardless of their social status, no one seems to care about its background, and there is very little or no attention and adequate funding from both government and society at large.
Dr. Osei said, the Mental Health Authority is financially handicapped currently, and resources to procure the required medication for patients and to run training programmes for key stakeholder institutions as required by the law is equally not forthcoming.
On her part, Mrs. Shantha Rav Barriga, the Director of Disability Rights at the Human Right Watch, an NGO, applauded the efforts being made by the MHA to create public awareness, and also prevent stigmatization of patients.
“Ghana has the opportunity to set great example for other countries in the Sub-region to emulate. Generally, there was the challenge of fear, which often led to the stigmatization and discrimination of persons with mental health conditions
I therefore, call on all stakeholders to join hands in fighting against the stigma and discrimination of mental health, the fight should not be left for the Authority alone to handle, it must be supported by all, to achieve the needed impact,” Mrs. Barriga called.
She also called on the Ministry of Finance, to urgently set up special levy to fund the mental health services in Ghana, as required by the Mental Health Law. Casting our minds back in the year 2012 when the regulation was passed, not much has since been achieved.
The well planned week-long event, would commence from Tuesday 10 October, 2017, with a dunbar at Takoradi in the Western Region, with the focus on awareness creation of the existence and realities of the situation in Ghana and as well as globally.
On Thursday 12th October, will be an Open Day for all mental health facilities in the country, followed by medical students debate and Jummah prayers in Kumasi on Friday, October 13 and a thanks giving service at Takoradi on October 15, 2017.