The Mental Health Society of Ghana (MEHSOG) on Tuesday called on the Government to take steps to ensure that everyone receives the mental health care needed to ensuring mental wellbeing.
It, thus, called on government to expand and invest in mental health services to cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding; “It is important that everyone who needs mental health support should feel comfortable asking for help.”
A press conference organised jointly by the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD) and the MEHSOG reiterated the need for mental health services to be accessible and integrated at the local level.
Ms Augustina Esi Qwansa, a member of MEHSOG, who read a statement on behalf of the Society, said mental health disorder was a silent epidemic that had affected people well before the COVID–19 pandemic with its attendant depression and anxiety.
She said emergencies like the COVID–19 could worsen those conditions, which ranged from stress associated with risk of infection, quarantine or self-isolation, and stigmatisation of people who came into contact with the virus through to the traumatic experiences of sudden loss of lives and livelihoods within families and communities.
Ms Qwansa said one of the things the pandemic had done was to have spotlighted the new barriers to accessing mental health and substance use disorder services in the country.
“There is no gainsaying that persons with disability and their caregivers face barriers that could prevent them from accessing care and essential information to reduce their risk in the face of COVID -19,” she said.
“The pandemic means that now we have less opportunity to be with our friends and get that social support that is essential for good mental well-being.”
Ms Qwansa called on the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service to ensure the availability of essential and generic psychotropic medications at all levels of healthcare and ensure quality access to daily care the tertiary mental health institutions.
She said MEHSOG and the GDF believed that good mental health was necessary for the wellbeing of individuals and communities.