Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority, Dr. Akwasi Osei, has cautioned actors in this year’s general elections, especially the candidates, to restrain their emotional outburst to avoid mental attack.He pointed out that mental attacks or health problems could be triggered by both difficult and pleasant situations, hence the need for people to be measured in their outburst when election results are declared after December 7. Dr Osei gave the warning at the climax of this year’s Mental Health Week celebration at Wa in the Upper West Region.
It was in line with the World Mental Health Day that is set aside for global mental health education, awareness creation and advocacy. It was on the theme: “Dignity in mental health- Psychological mental health first aid for all”.
Dr Osei has meanwhile advised the various political parties and their supporters to avoid actions that could trigger violence and emotional instability in the December 7 elections.
“Elections, these are areas we are very serious about and if we don’t take care anything can trigger anything …if we don’t control our emotions,” he noted Dr Osei said there are currently about 6,130 mentally ill persons roaming the streets of Ghana, with a total of 374 mental patients in the Upper West Region alone.
Madam Florence Ansungwmini of the Upper West Regional Health Directorate said the region lacks clinical psychiatrists and psychologists to attend to mental health patients.
“Our way forward as a region is for us to collaborate with other stakeholders to support the government effort to prioritize Mental Health.
World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti also noted psychological first aid in Africa is not always available when crisis arises due to poor investment and limited professional in the area of mental health.
“The WHO has been conducting training courses in psychological first aid and has developed a manual to guide countries as part of efforts strengthen preparedness and respond to humanitarian crisis,” Dr Moeti said.
Upper West Regional Minister, Alhaji Amin Amidu Sulemani said the Regional Coordinating Council would collaborate with the health directorate to establish a psychiatry unit at the new regional hospital.
He said he is aware of the in adequacy of mental health workers in the region and the country at large.