By Oswald Nana Boateng
The Techiman Coordinator of Brong Ahafo Network of Non-Governmental Organisations (BANGO), Mr Mustapha M. Yeboah, has expressed worry over the increasing discrimination against people with mental disorders as a threat to the development of the country?s mental health care system.
?Discrimination against people with mental disorders does not only affect them but may also affect their families and consequently retards the development of the nation?, he advised.
Mr Yeboah said this after a one-day workshop organised by BANGO for 65 participants including mental health workers, traditional healers, non- governmental organisations (NGOs), social welfare staff, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Faith Based Organisation (FBOs).
The Star-Ghana funded programme, which was on the theme: ?Advocating for the mainstreaming of mental services in communities in the Brong Ahafo Region”, focused particularly on improved access to psychiatric counseling, diagnosis, free treatment and care in all the 27 municipal and district hospitals in the Brong Ahafo Region by December 2014.
Mr Yeboah explained that discrimination against mentally impaired patients was one of the obstacles mental health workers were trying hard to deal with.
He, however, advised the general public that mentally challenged patients after treatment should be integrated into the society.
?Education should be done at communities and the families levels to encourage them to see people with mental illness as normal human beings and should therefore be treated well and included in all decision making process?, he noted.
Mr Yeboah, therefore, admonished the public particularly, the youth to desist from the smoking of Indian herm as it had been established to contribute greatly to the many mental disorders around the globe.
?The smoking of Indian Herm will remain a treat to our society, mental health and the lives of those to whom the future of our region and for that matter the country belong?, He said.
He, therefore, implored all stakeholders including traditional authorities, politicians, security services, Ghana Health Service (GHS), Ghana Education Service (GES), Assembly Members, NGOs, and religious leaders to join the fight against mental health in the region.
The Brong Ahafo Regional President of Traditional Healers Association, Alhaji Appiah Abass expressed worry that mental patients after being treated refused to take their drugs as prescribed by their physicians.
?One major concern is that most of the people who come for treatment and are partially treated sometimes stop taking the medication for the required period which may lead such patients to suffer from mental illness again?, he added.
Alhaji Abass, urged the Ghana Health Service to refrain from the over reliance on imported drugs to treat mentally challenged persons and rather patronised the locally manufactured drugs by the traditional healers.
A staff from the Techiman Municipal Mental Health Center (TMMHC), Ms Ama Korley Nartey expressed concern over inconsistent supply of mental health drugs to the facility to handle mental health and other related issues especially emergency cases.
She expressed worry that the Techiman municipality lacked psychologist to provide counseling services to mental health patients when the need arose.
Ms Nartey, however, called on the management of the National Health Insurance Scheme to include their coverage on mental health drugs to enable more mentally derailed people to seek for treatment.