02.03.2005 Health

Psychiatrist calls for collaboration in the treatment of mental health cases

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Ho, March 2, GNA- Mrs Elizabeth Vormawor- Attianah, a Psychiatric Health Nurse has called for collaboration among orthodox medical practitioners, spiritualists and traditional healers in the management of mental health cases. Mrs Vormawor-Attianah, Senior Nursing Officer, of the Psychiatric Unit of the Ho Municipal Hospital, said: "There have been several cases of patients taken out of the custody of the churches and healing homes to psychiatric units to be treated successfully".
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview in Ho, on Tuesday she said spiritualists who detain mental patients for years without helping to improve on their conditions should counsel and refer them to psychiatric units or hospitals. Mrs Vormawor-Attianah spoke again the involvement of emotionally unstable people in all night prayer and fasting sessions. She said what mental patients rather need was to eat nutritious foods regularly and have a lot of rest.
Mrs Mabel Klutse, a Nursing Officer, said although the Ho Psychiatric Unit had existed for the past 25 years, there is little public knowledge about its services. She said the Unit treated an average of 20 people everyday and engages in periodic community work that sends its six permanent staff to villages and towns around Ho. Mrs Klutse said, due to lack of transport the Unit could not make follow up visits, thereby making the new concept of home treatment of patients ineffective. She said the concept, which was to involve family members in the healing process, was crucial in the management of the mental cases, since a major cause of relapse among mental patients was their rejection by family members.
Mrs Klutse expressed regret that the country's health policies focus less on mental health, adding it was only when a mental patient went wild and hurt somebody that attention is drawn to mental health care. She called for a crusade to improve the attitude of the general public to mental patients and psychiatric diseases, remarking that even within the Ghana Health Service, there existed "a strange low regard for mental health workers". Mrs Klutse said psychotic cases mostly from the use of narcotics and marital problems accounted for most of the mental cases reported at the Unit. She called on parents to live up to their responsibilities to prevent their children from becoming wayward and also appealed to women especially, to be circumspect about love relationships to protect their mental health.

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