The Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority (MHA), Dr Pinaman Appau, has expressed concern over the growing number of individuals with mental illness in public places and on the streets, attributing this rise to the stress associated with the current economic hardship in Ghana.
She noted that factors such as rising unemployment, economic uncertainty, and social isolation have worsened mental health challenges in the country.
A national count in 2016 identified over 6,000 individuals with mental illness on the streets and in public places.
Dr. Appau stressed that another count would soon be conducted to collect data for targeted interventions.
Dr. Appau emphasized the need for stakeholders to support advocacy efforts and provide logistics to implement strategies aimed at reintegrating mentally ill individuals from the streets into communities.
She highlighted that mental health is a universal right and that everyone, regardless of their background, has the right to mental well-being and access to mental health services.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated in September that nearly 2.4 million Ghanaians could be suffering from various forms of mental illness.
During the Mental Health Week, scheduled for October 4 to 10, activities will include community engagements, open dialogues, and discussions on the rights of individuals with mental illness and intellectual disabilities.
By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey; Editing by Dennis Gyamfi