Health News of 2014-05-25

Mental health cases increase in Tolon District

The Mental Health Unit of the Tolon District Health Service has expressed concern over the increasing rate of mental health cases being recorded in the district.

Mr. Issah Musah, Tolon District Mental Health Officer, who expressed the concern at a forum on mental health at Tolon, said the district recorded 167 mental health cases in 2012, 239 cases in 2013, and 120 cases in the first quarter of this year.

The forum was organized by Kesmi FM, a Tamale-based radio station, with support from STAR-Ghana, to raise awareness as well as reduce stigma about mental health in the district.

Mr Musah said males were the most victims of mental illness in the district, and attributed the increase to more people smoking cannabis, amongst other causes.

He said the Mental Health Unit of the Tolon Health Service had begun a campaign to educate residents about mental illness and its causes, with a view to encourage responsible lifestyles among the people.

He advised residents to report to the hospital any time they felt any form of depression for early treatment to prevent mental illness.

Mr Fred Nantogmah, Knowledge and Communications Officer of Basic Needs, a mental health non-governmental organization, who spoke on the current state of interventions by state and civil society organizations, called for an end to stigmatization of mental health patients, to promote their dignity.

Mr Kwaku Oduro, Project Officer of Kesmi FM/ STAR-Ghana Media Project on Mental Health, said there was the need for all to accord mental health patients with the needed respect and rights to ensure the progress of society.

Meanwhile, Kesmi FM has formed a students’ club on mental health at the Tolon Senior High School, as part of efforts to create awareness amongst the populace about mental health, its causes, and how to seek treatment.