Health News of 2014-01-03

Judges must be schooled on mental health – Chief Psychiatrist

The Chief Psychiatrist at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, Dr. Akwasi Osei, is proposing mental health education for judges in the country.

He said this will help them refer people with mental illness to psychiatric hospitals for evaluation before passing judgement.

Dr. Akwasi Osei made the call on an Accra based radio station Citi FM Friday. He noted that educating judges on mental health could cut down on the number of ex-convicts who come out of correctional centers as social misfits.

The Chief Psychiatrist said the practice where any criminal is sentenced without knowing the persons mental health could be dangerous to the country’s security.

He warned if the status quo remains “it might be putting people in prison only for their mental health problem to worsen”.

According to him, in other jurisdictions because the judges know about mental health, if anyone commits any heinous crime and is brought to court, they order for a psychiatric assessment before they give their final judgement.

Dr. Akwasi Osei called on government and the judicial council to, as a matter of urgency, consider his proposal for effective crime combat in the country.