Mr Joseph Yere, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Coordinator of Mental Health has expressed worry about incidents of mentally deranged patients attacking health workers facilitating their treatment.
He lamented that because health workers were acquainted with the patients, the latter sometimes attacked them in town.
The Regional Mental Health Coordinator was speaking at a stakeholders meeting to sensitise participants on the Mental Health Act in Sunyani.
The meeting was jointly organised by the Mission of Hope Society International (MIHOSO) and Basic Needs Ghana, a Non-governmental organizations with support from the UK Department for International Development.
Mr Yere recounted that recently a patient slapped a health worker from behind and run after him in the Sunyani Township.
He said he also pelted the health worker with stones.
These sudden attacks, Mr Yere emphasised, had put many of the health providers in a state of dilemma.
He called for expedite action on the passage of the Legislative Instrument (LI) supporting the Mental Health Act to give realistic meaning to the law.
Notwithstanding, he said it was wrong and a breach of the Mental Health Act for anybody to abuse the rights of the mentally challenged in society.
“The patients should not be denied their right to education, health, shelter, transportation, employment and life,” he added.
Mr Yere noted that the Brong Ahafo Region was recording high numbers of epileptic cases, adding that poverty and marital problems were contributing to high cases of depression.
He advised pregnant women to attend regular antenatal clinics, and avoid self medication, which according to him, contributed to high epileptic cases.
Mr Gabriel Gbiel Benarkuu, the Chief Executive Officer of the MIHOSO, appealed to the public to report people who abused mentally deranged patients to the organization or the police.
He said according to the Mental Health Act, people who abused the rights of the mentally challenged would be prosecuted and if found guilty, would be fined GHC6,000 or 10 years imprisonment or both.
Mr Benarkuu said though mental health could be linked to spirituality, it was against the law to chain patients, especially at prayer camps.
He therefore advised church leaders to encourage patients to seek medical care, while they handled the spiritual aspect.