GPA Urges Government To Prioritize Mental Health Investment

The Ghana Psychological Association (GPA) has urged the government to make mental health investment a top priority.

A statement issued by Mrs Joy Anima Debrah, National Public Relations Officer, GPA, copied the Ghana News Agency to mark Mental Health Day, October 10, said mental health must be prioritized and made accessible.

The statement was issued as part of activities marking this year’s World Mental Health Day (WMHD), on the theme “Mental Health for All: Greater Investment – Greater Access, Everyone, Everywhere”.

It said the Association was of the view that collaborations and partnerships would ensure more investment into improving access to treatment centres and psychosocial assistance in all districts in Ghana.

The statement said the commemoration of WMHD was aimed at increasing awareness and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health issues; adding that mental health was a human right issue and no one must be left out.

“This year has particularly been tough. The world is currently experiencing an unprecedented global health emergency due to COVID-19 and the resulting implication has impacted on the mental health of millions of people,” it said.

“The levels of anxiety, fear, isolation, social distancing and restrictions, uncertainty and emotional distress experienced, have become widespread as the world struggles to bring the virus under control and to find solutions.”

The statement said an alarming one in every four persons will be affected by a mental disorder at some stage of their lives while substance abuse exacerbates mental health outcomes; accounting for 13 per cent of the total global burden of disease.

It said consequently about a quarter of the world's population were at risk of mental health disorders.

“It is estimated that 650,000 in Ghana suffer from a severe mental disorder and a further 2.1million are suffering from a moderate to mild mental disorder.”

It said the austere picture of Ghana’s mental health situation necessitates a call on stakeholders to prioritize mental health.

It said Sustainable Development Goal 17 for good health and wellbeing was geared towards the desire for health equity across the globe to transform our world.

The statement noted that universal health coverage must ensure all persons had equal access to required quality mental health services.

It said to this end, “we recommend that governments need to invest more in mental health in terms of infrastructure across the country and human resource training as well as the inclusion of mental health coverage in the National Health Insurance Scheme.”

“We should double up efforts to embrace all persons suffering from mental disorders and offer them maximum clinical and social support and shun stigmatization and discrimination,” it said.

“We applaud the resilience of frontline workers and individuals during these difficult times and the social support benefits that encouraged coping mechanisms. The situation requires an infusion of heavy doses of psychotherapy and psychosocial services into primary health care,” the statement added.

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