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23.11.2005 Health

5.7 Million Ghanaians Suffer From Mental Disorder

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Research indicates that 5.7 million Ghanaians, representing 27% of the country's population are suffering from some mild form of mental disorder. The research also shows that because of the lack of adequate mental healthcare facilities, many people in the society do not receive the needed attention and care, leading to the likelihood of many Ghanaians developing mental health problems at one stage of their life or the other.

The acting chief psychiatrist, Dr. Akwesi Osei, who stated this in Accra yesterday at the opening of a two-day mental health workshop on the theme: “Towards Saving the Collapsing Mental Health Service,” said mental health facilities in the country were in a very deplorable state.

“Because of the lack of culture of maintenance and the contempt and scorn shown to patients and officials in metal health practice by officialdom and the society, we have been neglected for a long time, leading to the near collapse of most of the facilities”, he said. He noted that facilities at the Accra Psychiatrist Hospital, whose original purpose was confinement when it was constructed almost a hundred years ago, had been overstretched by congestion.

Dr. Osei revealed that there were no recovery wards in the mental hospitals which further exacerbated the already poor conditions there. He also revealed that the country did not have any facility for calming the nerves of people who suffered from nervous breakdown, adding, “this is why if somebody is suffering from stroke, the person has to be flown out of the country for treatment.