NGO calls for promulgation of Mental Health Bill

The Ghana Mental Health Association, an umbrella of NGOs and persons in mental health, on Tuesday urged the public, human rights and civil society organisations to step up pressure on the government to pass the Mental Health Bill. A statement signed by the Rev. Godson King Akpalu, President of the Ghana Mental Health Association, said any further delay would be an endorsement of the human rights abuses at psychiatric hospitals and the society. Referring to a story on the rot at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, the NGO said the degree of human rights violations within the mental health facilities exposed the blatant disregard of the rights of those who were in the facility. "Ghanaians need to be reminded that the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that come 2010, mental illness would become the second largest non-communicable disease in the world with as many as 15 million people globally suffering from depression and 120 million others from anxiety and stress related diseases." It said the earlier the country adequately prepared the health facilities to effectively deal with these occurrences the better, and thus the need to enact the Mental Health Bill.