The Mental Health Authority(MHA) is to establish regional and district mental health care committees and appoint regional mental health coordinators to help improve mental health care.
The regional mental health coordinators are to take inventory of all facilities that provide mental health care and ensure that the rights and conditions under which the patients are treated falls within acceptable human conditions and standards.
This was said by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the MHA, Professor Joseph B. Asare, at a working visit to the Eastern Region.
He said the regional mental health care committees are to support the regional mental health care coordinators in their work and are to be sub-committees of the Regional Health Management Teams(RHMTs).
He explained that, for purposes of effective coordination, the regional mental health care coordinators are to be members of the RHMT and the RHMT would be involved in the appointment of the regional mental health coordinators and the members of the regional mental health care committees.
Prof Asare said the establishment of the committees and the appointment of the coordinators are in conformity with the Mental Health Act.
He said the act also calls for the establishment of regional mental health care tribunals with the powers of a high court that would visit mental health institutions to receive complains of patients.
Prof Asare saidthe MHA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, was training community mental health psychologists who would be working in the communities to help promote community mental health care.
He congratulated the Eastern Region for the launch of the “restoring dignity project” which aims at getting the mental patients off the streets of the region for treatment and reintegration into society and assured the region of the support of the MHA.
Explaining the importance of the Mental Health Tribunal, Dr Kwasi Osei, the Chief Executive Officer of the MHA cited an example where a family had always found a way to get one of their members confined at the mental hospital when it got to the harvesting of cocoa under the pretext that he had mental problem.
By the time he was released from confinement the of the family would have used the money from the cocoa harvest for the period.
He said under such circumstance, the person could appeal to the Mental Health Tribunal for redress.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Antwi-Bosiako Sekyere, said the government had been allocating huge budget for the vulnerable and the socially excluded but when it comes to disbursement, people who claimed to be working in the interest of the vulnerable and the disadvantaged, ended up taking greater part of the funding.
The MHA latter paid a courtesy call on the Regional Director of Health Services and the Director of the Koforidua Regional Hospital and visited the Psychiatric+ unit of the Hospital. GNA