Mr Abdulai John Ibrahim, the Northern Regional Psychiatry Nurse, has complained about the attitude of some families in the region hiding their relatives who have mental health conditions.
He said despite increased sensitization to treat mental health patients, some families continued to hide such patients, thereby denying them treatment on the notion that it was a disgrace to the family.
Mr Ibrahim was speaking at a training workshop in Tamale organized by Gub-Katimali Society (GKS), a non-governmental organization (NGO) with sponsorship from Basic Needs Ghana, also an NGO, for selected volunteers who work with mental health people and care givers in the Northern Region.
The two-day training was to educate participants, who resided in the communities, on essential skills of mental illness and epilepsy, to enable them to identify and manage such cases before making referrals to hospitals.
Mr Ibrahim stated that anybody could suffer mental illness, adding therefore, no one should hide mental health patients on the notion that such a disease was a disgrace to the family.
He, therefore, urged the volunteers to go to the communities in search of mental health patients for treatment.
He also cautioned the public against stigmatizing mental health patients saying those, who had been treated, should be involved in any activity in the community to feel as a part of society.
Sheik Yakubu Abdul-Kareem, Executive Director of GKS, said mental health patients had the right to be treated, and urged all to respect the country’s laws on mental health.
Sheik Abdul-Kareem urged the volunteers to discharge their duties effectively to bring treatment to mental health patients in their communities.
Pastor Peter Koyitey Tunjie, a participant from Sawla in the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba District, said the training had deepened his knowledge on issues of mental health and epilepsy, and would therefore do more to improve the situation of mental health and epileptic patients within the community. GNA