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Northern Regional Health Directorate holds inception meeting on mental health

June 13, 2024
Northern Regional Health Directorate holds inception meeting on mental health

The Northern Regional Health Directorate has held an inception meeting in on the (WHO) Director-General's Special Initiative for Care. 

This is to increase awareness and provide orientation for key stakeholders to improve the quality of mental health services in the region. 

It was attended by religious leaders, representatives of the Mental Health Authority, NGOs, mental health staff, and opinion leaders. 

Dr Abdulai Abukari, the Northern Regional Director of Health, raised concerns about substance abuse, especially tramadol among the youth and other populations in the region.  

Such substances did not only harm the individuals involved but also had far-reaching consequences for their families and society, he said. 

Dr Abukari said the Regional Health Directorate, in the past three years, witnessed concerning trends in cases of epilepsy, , psychoactive substance use, and mental health disorder due to alcohol use, schizophrenia, schizotypal, and delusional disorders. 

He underscored the need for a comprehensive and coordinated approach to mental health care in the region and the country as a whole, saying mental health professionals in the region were working tirelessly to address the challenges.  

He lauded the Special Initiative for Mental Health Care initiative for providing a comprehensive guide to mental health practitioners over the years.  

Mr Emmanuel Fokuo, the Principal Nursing Officer, Mental Health Department, Northern Regional Health Directorate, said one out of 10 citizens grappled with common mental health condition, while one to three per cent were living with severe mental illnesses.
 
Only five per cent of those living with those health conditions received adequate treatment, with lower attention given to those in regions with limited resources. 
He appealed to members of the public to stop the misconception, stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness. 

Dr Susana Annan, a Specialist Psychiatrist at the Northern Regional Hospital, appealed to residents to periodically visit the Mental Health Department to check their health status. 

She was not happy that victims of substance abuse in the region resorted to the churches and mallams for deliverance instead of seeking help from the hospital. 

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