The Centre for Development of People (CEDEP), an NGO, has called for the strengthening of national policies, programmes and legislation to get the best out of mental healthcare.
Mental health, it said, over the years had received relatively low attention, resulting in widespread discrimination, exploitation and neglect of people suffering from mental illness.
Mr Patrick Amoateng-Mensah, the Executive-Director, said situational analysis of the state of mental health shows that mental patients are not being treated fairly as they are constantly abused and stigmatized.
Addressing a training workshop on Basic Psychiatry in Kumasi, he said the United Nations (UN) Principles for the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness, which seeks to fight against their segregation and discrimination need to be upheld.
The Health Ministry estimates that there are currently about 8,974 Ghanaians suffering from various forms of mental illness, while 10,169 people are afflicted with various forms of epilepsy.
The workshop was jointly organized by CEDEP and BasicNeeds, Ghana, another NGO, for selected community development and social welfare staff.
They were taken through topics including, “Demystifying Mental and Epileptic Sickness in our Communities”, “Effects of Mental and Epileptic Sickness on an Individual, Family and Communities”, and the “Global Situation on Mental Health.”
Mr Peter Yaro, Executive-Director of BasicNeeds, Ghana, said it was necessary to train more mental health personnel and increase health facilities to enhance the treatment of people with mental diseases.
The media should also help to sensitize the public not to discriminate against such people. GNA