Mental disorders are on the increase in the Tano North District, Dr Yakubu Bayayinah, District Director of Health, disclosed on Wednesday.
He said statistics showed that the Directorate had recorded 1,090 cases of mental illnesses in the districts in the past 12 months, with epilepsy being high among the cases.
Speaking at a stakeholder’s workshop on mental health planning and sustainability, at Duayaw-Nkwanta, Dr Bayayinah said substance abuse (indian hemp) was also on the increase in the district.
It was organized by the Brong-Ahafo Network of Non-Governmental Organisations (BANGO), with support from Star-Ghana, and attended by psychiatric nurses, traditional healers, pastors, prayer camp operators and civil society organizations.
Dr Bayayinah mentioned depression, dementia, enuresis and mania as some mental illnesses which were common in the districts, adding that excessive alcoholism among the youth was also a major problem.
He expressed concern about lack of logistics, inadequate psychiatric health nurses, as well as insufficient medication, as some of the major setbacks in controlling cases of mental disorders, indicating that because drugs were expensive patients could not afford to buy them from pharmacy shops.
Dr Bayayinah emphasized that the Ghana Health Service (GHS) was not against the use of herbal and spiritual methods in the treatment of mental illnesses.
But he, however, expressed concern about inhumane and other human right violations mental health patients went through when they sought treatment from herbalists and prayer camp operators and managers.
Mr Collins Osei, Public Relations Officer of BANGO, who was also a facilitator, said anybody could suffer from mental disorder, and appealed to the general public to assist patients to access regular medication.
He condemned public stigmatization and discrimination against people with mental illnesses, and appealed to government to address the regular shortage of drugs for the treatment of mental health cases.
Mr Osei appealed to GHS to post more psychiatric nurses to the various mental health units in the districts and municipalities, to enable patients to easily access medication. GNA