High Mental health cases recorded among women and girls in Tano South

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Women are recording disturbing figures of mental health in the Tano South Municipality of the Ahafo Region, with 1,345 new cases being recorded this year.

Most of the affected young girls and women are between 16 and 74-years, and are suffering from epilepsy, psychosis, and migraine.

Substance abuse and alcoholism among young men in the municipality is also high, Mr. Jonathan Aryee, the Tano South Municipal Mental Health Coordinator stated.

He was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the side-lines of the inauguration of a Community Support Network for people with mental health conditions, held at Bechem, the municipal capital.

MindFreedom Ghana, a health-centered non-government organisation inaugurated the network which seeks to improve the socio-economic conditions of people with mental health conditions in the Bono and Ahafo Regions.

The composition of the network includes representatives of Ghana Health Service, Traditional Authorities, Department of Social Welfare as well as caregivers and Assembly Members.

Among other objectives, the group seeks to advocate the provision of tailored mental health support to persons with mental health conditions and their caregivers in the two regions.

Describing the mental health situation in the area as alarming, Mr. Aryee explained cases were common at Brosankro, Derma and Techimantia, saying conditions of many of the patients had worsened because of intermittent shortages of mental health drugs.

He said there were other unreported cases in some of the localities due to high public discrimination and stigmatization, regretting that because his outfit had no motorbikes, health workers were unable to reach out to assist patients in those hard-to-reach communities to provide medication.

Mr. Aryee therefore appealed to the government and development partners for motorbikes for the mental health nurses, as well as drugs for the patients, saying strict adherence to drugs could facilitate the treatment processes of the patients.

In another interview, Mr. Dan Taylor, the Executive Director of MindFreedom Ghana called on the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to ensure Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) provided budgetary support for the treatment of people with mental conditions on the streets.

He said portions of the Mental Health Law, Act 846 enjoined the MMDAs to provide annual budgetary support to assist the Mental Health Authority and the Department of Social Welfare to improve the conditions and reintegrate people with mental disorders back with their families.

Mr. Taylor also called on Assembly Members to insist and ensure that the budgetary allocations for the people with mental conditions were captured in the MMDAs annual actions plans and released for that purpose.

On the Community Support Network, he said the formation of the group was in line with a project being implemented by his NGO with funding support from the National Democratic Institute of the United States.

The one-year project seeks to increase awareness on mental health and immunization and garner community interest to support persons with mental illness and their caregivers to access services.

It would support Community Mental Health Officers, Expanded Programme on Immunization, and health promotion officers to collaborate and advocate provision of tailored mental health support to persons with mental health conditions and their caregivers.

The Project also strengthens civil society and non-governmental organizations to advocate improving mental health services for persons with mental health conditions in
the context of COVID-19.

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