Deputy Director for Mental Health at the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Amma Ampomaa Boadu is appealing to the government to invest the allowances being returned by First Lady Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Second Lady Mrs. Samira Bawumia into the mental health delivery.
This she insists, will go a long way to provide care for people with mental illness and get those on the streets the help they need.
She made this appeal to government during a mental health literacy training programme for journalists on Thursday, July 15, 2021.
“In the last few years, Pantang hospital and Accra psychiatric hospital have been benefiting from them [First and Second Ladies].
“If at this point in time they say they are returning the money [allowances], Ghana at this point in time didn’t have a budget for them so it is extra money.
“We in the mental health space are saying we need a lot of money to help support our unfortunate brothers and sisters [persons suffering from mental illness],” Dr. Amma Ampomaa Boadu told journalists.
According to her, anyone at all can suffer mental illness and therefore it is crucial to invest in that area to help those in need.
“It isn’t too far away from us, it could be any of us at any point in time so if there is this money we don’t really have a budget for then why can’t we use it for this particular purpose helping people with mental health illness,” Dr. Boadu shared.
Backing the call on government, Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority, Dr. Akwasi Osei said if those in authority listen and invest the allowances being returned by the First and Second Ladies as suggested, it will offer the nation a great deal.
“We understand that the First and Second Ladies have decided to return their monies [allowances]. What we are saying is that if the monies are going to return or the ones yet to be given will be rejected, it means we are going to have a certain sum of money that could be there for use for various purposes.
Dr. Akwasi Osei
“We are suggesting a way that the money could be used profitably and that is that mental health requires a lot of funds. If we can do it that way we will not see a single patient on the street walking naked or dirty and that will be money well spent,” Dr. Osei noted.
Dr. Akwasi Osei strongly believes that if just 80% of the 16,000 mentally ill people roaming on the streets are cared for and made productive, the country will in the long-run benefit.
The First and Second Ladies have revealed that they will be returning all allowances paid them by the government from 2017.
Already, First Lady Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo has refunded GH¢899,097.84 to the State.
The Second Lady Samira Bawumia is also expected to follow suit.