The Mental Health Authority (MHA), has disclosed that about four million Ghanaians, out of the estimated population of 28 million are suffering from mild to severe mental illness.
As it stands now, one in every four persons in Ghana has a mental illness, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the authority, Dr Caroline Amissah disclosed this on the sidelines of the launch of a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Friends of Mental Health, in Accra on Monday.
She said that the four million people were suffering from depression, anxiety disorders, bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia.
Dr Amissah further expressed worry about the country’s little attention to mental health care, saying that last year the government did not release any money for mental health services.
She, however, indicated that this year, GH¢500,000 had been released for the various mental health facilities even though drugs are yet to be made available.
Dr Amissah said that such a situation has forced the Mental Health Authority to rely on NGOs and other partners for drugs to take care of mental patients in the country.
Meanwhile, a retired educationist Professor Stephen Adei, who is also a member of the board of trustees of Friends of Mental Health accused the National Democratic Congress (NDC) of using money reserved for mental health to buy votes in the 2016 general elections.
According to the former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), even though parliament had approved a budget for the mental health sector, the John Mahama-led government did not make any financial input into the sector.
"It’s quite unfortunate and whenever I see a mentally sick person walking in the streets, sometimes totally naked, do you know whom we are indicting, me and you, from the President to the young person."
"I couldn't believe that in 2016 not a pesewa of government budget was dedicated to mental health. That is the year, literally millions were spent, legitimately or in bribing people to vote and we didn't spend as a people, a pesewa in helping mentally sick people."
"I believe that there are many things that has to be done, we need roads, we need schools, we need factories and all of them, but nothing will define our humanity as Ghanaians with what we do with the mentally sick," Prof Adei said.