World Mental Health Day is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries which is including Ghana.
Psychiatric disorders (mental illness) according to experts can be caused by a predisposing factor.
This means that it is genetic and could run in a family with history of mental illness and members have higher chances of catching the disease.
It could also be precipitated by the abuse of drugs especially cannabis, alcohol and perpetuated by discrimination, isolation, financial issues and some form of accidents.
Some of the signs and symptoms are disturbed or disruptive behaviour, unkempt appearance, disorientation to place time or person, distortion in perception, poor judgment and orientation.
Like in most illnesses, delays in early detection, treatment and support for the patient can cause distress, increase the risk of relapse and can be harmful for the individual, their friends, family and caregivers.
There is a disturbing trend that had emerged over the years but nothing seem to have been done about it.
A tour across major cities and towns in the country may reveal a lot of mental patients, both young and old on the streets.
There is no doubt that the number of mentally deranged people on principal streets especially in major cities has increased. Some these mentally challenged people can be violent; therfore, pose serious threat to pedestrians.
THE DANGERS THEY POSE
As stated earlier, some of them can be dangerous and should not be roaming the around in the commnity.
The recent butchering of number of people by mentally deranged relatives as well as those who are attacked on the streets and farms should be a wakeup call to authorities and all stakeholders in the society particularly, head of Metropolitan Assemblies in Accra and other regions.
In other news, a market woman at Ashaiman revealed a male mental patient often raped a women at knife point, yet he still walks around freely. In another instance, a mad man who roams around Takoradi market around circle area frequently rapes women. Several market women have fallen victims and although many people are aware of it, nothing had been done to get him out of the vicinity.
Additionally, there were recent report in the Ashanti Region where a mad man butchered four people including a school boy and a nursing mother at Abrepo Junction.
Indeed, the appearance of these mad men and women on the streets is very scary and
society seem to have completely ignored them and the need to offer them medical treatment.
It is possible that no institution is tasked with getting rid of them from the streets and bringing them to appropriate health centre. It is of utmost importance to monitor the activities of these mentally unstable people who usually go round collecting refuse ranging from plastics, dirty cloths, leftover foods, polythene bags and dumping them basially everywhere.
STATE OF MENTAL HEALTH CARE IN GHANA
Although mental health care is an integral part of the country’s health delivery chain, three main mental health facilities are in very deplorable state making the delivery of such services extremely difficult for both patients and health practitioners.
Central Region: Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital in the Komenda -Edina -Eguafo -Abrem Municipality for instance is in a dire need of funds to cater for its inmates.The situation has led to the discharge of some 92 patients who are said to be in “stable condition” to their families to continue treatment from the house with a subsequent temporal ban on admission of new inmates.Some of the problems cited by some health workers in the hospital included inadequate drugs supply, feeding and other logistics.
The question however is, what happens to these patients who have been released? Surely majority of them will end up on the streets again due to the fact that it takes committment to give them the requisite care.The situation looks the same in the other two psychiatric hospitals in the country, namely Patang and Accra as infrastructural development had virtually been non-existence.Though there are enough spaces at their facilities, the hospitals are also unable to admit more patients due to lack of funds, which had resulted in huge debts to their suppliers.
Mental health care is a shared responsibility and therefore state and non-state actors, individuals, families and NGOs must give it immediate intervention to help fix the challenges.It is imperative for families, relatives and friends to desist from neglecting their mentally ill relatives, they should give them the needed attention and care and support them by providing them their basic needs.
The MHA should be able to design systematic programmes and liaise with relevant bodies to clear mentally challenged people from the streets so people can go about their daily activities without fear.
Source: wadataonline.com/Issa Abubakar