EASTERN REGION HOST THE WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY CELEBRATION FOR THE 1ST TIME EVER IN GHANA
Saturday, 12 October 2013
The world mental health day is celebrated on the 10th of October every year as initiated by the World Federation of Mental Health and supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) since the year 1992 across the world to raise awareness on mental health issues using its strong relationships with the Ministries of Health and Civil Society Organizations across the globe.
In Ghana, this year the day was marked for the first time at Koforidua in the Eastern region to promote open discussion on mental illnesses as well as investments in prevention and treatment services. It is amazing to note that significantly the day has also seen launching of a new project dubbed “The restoring Dignity Project by the Ghana Psychiatric Unit. The project seeks to get rid off mentally derange from the street into the psychiatric unit until they become revived before they are united with their families. It equally seeks to give hope, support, devotion and life to these unfortunate mental patients seen elsewhere in town across the country.
The ceremony witnessed officials and dignitaries from the Mental health foundation, the Ministry of Health, Health experts from across the world, civil society groups, students from Koforidua Secondary Technical school, Koforidua Nursing Training College, Management and Staff of the three psychiatric hospitals in as well as principals from various training institutions in the country and the media who took turn to grace the event.
The chairman for the day, Daasebre Professor Emeritus Oti Boateng in his opening remark underscored the need for all Ghanaians to be exposed to some sort of mental health treatment / sensitization about how to calm nerves from pressures and tensions that emanates out of everyday struggle by human beings in course of performance of personal or official duties with the aim to promote national development.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Honourable Helen Ntoso in her welcome address commended the organizers of the event for bringing the 2013 World Mental Day celebration program to the Eastern region for the first time. She lamented the lack of accommodation for the psychiatrist who visits the regional hospital to review mental patients pleading government support to help provide accommodation facility to support them. She also appealed to the government to help send more psychiatric nurses to the Eastern Region to aid mental health services since the Eastern Region is highly rated among other regions in Ghana as number one when it comes to mental health issues in Ghana.
The Minister of Health, Hon. Sherry Ayitey in her keynote address said government consider mental health issues as a crucial problem which demotes the development of the nation and therefore government has it on it’s agenda to support the initiatives that give relief in ironing out these challenges faced by both older adults and the unfortunate ones in the society. She cited sound mind as a catalyst to high productivity and creation of wealth indeed for families as well as the nation which she believes goes a long way towards promotion of national development. She noted every Ghanaian has a role to play in awareness creation about mental health illnesses. She pledged government’s support to ensure that the feeding fee of the mentally ill patients (both in-patients and out patients) will soon witness an increment. In her statement she disclosed Government is ensuring that all Government hospitals will have a psychiatric Unit attached to see to acute cases before they are brought to the hospital for treatment. She outlined Governments plan to transform the Kintampo School of Health into a Teaching Hospital in where more nursing students can be well trained for the job. Responding to the appeal made by the Chief Psychiatrist in regards to the formation of a board to see to the implementation of the mental health bill, she suggested a little patience be exercised on part of that request, promising that by the end of this year the board will be formed and issues of mental health will be a thing of the past.
As part of activities for the day includes a mental health sketch performed by a Drama troupe which depicts the challenges of older adults, giving warnings about maltreatment of aged who are suffering from mental illness and sending a strong signal to the participants that mentally ill people should be taken to the hospital instead of witch camps and equally shown compassion and care followed by a thirty minutes documentary on the Restoring Dignity Project which reveals the activities of the Eastern Regional Psychiatric unit when it comes to treatment of Mentally ill patients under the project. Under this project, welfare of the mentally ill patients are guaranteed as provision is made get rid of mentally ill personnel from the street to the psychiatric unit and given a good care until they are fit to join their families back at home.
The Minister of health,Hon Sherry Ayittey on behalf of the Government of Ghana, successfully launched the project dubbed Restoring Dignity to mark the day and to commemorate the success of the World Mental Day celebration for 2013 on the theme “Mental health and older adults”
Daasebre Professor Emeritus Oti Boateng in his closing remark lauded the British Government for supporting the Government of Ghana with a sum of seven million pounds to help aid mental health issues in the country.