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General News of Friday, 24 April 2020

Source: Happy 98.9FM

Coronavirus fight useless if mentally ill is ignored – Mental Health Authority

The Mental Health Authority (MHA) has tipped that the government’s fight against COVID-19 will be futile if attention is not paid to the mentally ill on our streets.

According to them, the mentally sound citizens can adhere to all COVID-19 preventive measures but not the mentally ill who will become carriers of the virus if they are not cared for.

In an interview on Happy98.9FM’s ‘Epa Hoa Daben’, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the MHA, Dr. Akwasi Osei told host Afrifa-Mensah, “The mentally ill can become carriers of the virus at a time we think we’re safe because we provided them with no protection. We can possibly be infected by the mentally when we come out from our homes. So as we are doing all we can to help ourselves, we should help the mentally ill as well”.

He noted that the authority has plans to help the mentally ill found on the streets of Ghana, but the roll out of the campaign has been a major challenge. “We rolled out a campaign where we took the mentally ill of the streets, housed and treated them”. He motioned that the MHA had to halt the campaign because they had no funds to carry on.

Dr. Akwasi Osei reiterated that, it has become quite necessary for the MHA to take the mentally ill off the streets if the government truly wants to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

When asked by host, Afrifa Mensah the cost involved for the campaign to be re-launched, he indicated that the authority will need 5,000 cedis per person to get the mentally ill of the streets. “If we get the funding, it can take a month or a couple of months to restore the mental health of these individuals”, he stated.

He went on to advise every Ghanaian to pay attention to their mental health because 2 out of 5 persons in the world have and can have mental problems.

The Mental Health Authority needs funding of GH?15 million per year to carter for the mentally ill in the country, but has received only GH?2 million in 2020. The MHA is waiting on the Mental Health Levy Bill to be passed, which will provide the authority with unlimited funding for their work.

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