Health News Tue, 17 Jun 2014

Mentally-ill persons take over Sunyani streets

The number of mentality-ill persons on the streets of Sunyani is on the increase, creating a nuisance for the residents.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Mental Health Authority and Chief Psychiatrist at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, Dr Akwasi Osei revealed in Sunyani during a sensitisation workshop two months ago that a programme, dubbed ‘Operation clear the streets,’ aimed at clearing all the streets in Ghana of the mentally-ill is in the offering; until the programme starts, more mentally-ill persons would continue to loiter the streets of Sunyani.

Stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and inadequate information and knowledge about the facts of mental illness have led to many people living their mentally-ill relatives on the streets of Sunyani.

A visit by The Finder to some streets in the municipality revealed many mentally-ill persons roaming the streets and busily doing their own thing. Until these mentally-challenged persons are cleared off the street, they would continue to be a nuisance to the public.

Brong Ahafo Regional Co-ordinator for Mental Health, Dr Joseph Yere in an interview with The Finder attributed the increase in the number of mentally-ill persons to the absence of a psychiatric hospital in Sunyani.

Dr Yere also identified the presence of these people to poverty since relatives cannot afford to transport them to the various health centres which are sited far from the region.

“Most of the mentally-ill persons are on the streets because most relatives cannot take care of their ill relatives. Apart from this problem, there is no psychiatric hospital in Sunyani, so people find it very difficult to send their mentally-ill relatives to Ankaful, Accra or Pantang Psychiatric hospitals because of the distance. Some also send their ill relatives to prayer camps, which rather aggravate their situation,” Dr Yere revealed.

Source: The Finder