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General News of Thursday, 30 July 2020

Source: happyghana.com

Mental breakdown is not witchcraft - Dr. Akwasi Osei

Dr. Akwasi Osei, Mental Health Authority CEO Dr. Akwasi Osei, Mental Health Authority CEO

CEO of the Mental Health Authority, Dr. Akwasi Osei has said that it is high time we stop attributing mental health situations to witchcraft.

In an interview with Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning Show, he noted that many of the people who are believed to be witches are usually battling with mental health issues that may affect the way they behave.

“A lot of things people don’t understand, they associate to witchcraft. Sometimes we believe in God and we put our religiosity on a high pedestal which becomes excessive. Those we call witches may be people having psychological problems,” he said.

Citing his Observation at the Gambaga Witch Camp, he stated that most of the women at the camp were either suffering from depression, dementia or schizophrenia which are mental health-related diseases.

“Sometimes some people have also gotten to an age where they have no kids, and are sick, homeless and need extensive care and all those can be accused of witchcraft”, he added.

He encouraged that when people notice that others behave strangely often stating things they may have done in a spirit realm, health experts should be consulted.

“If you see any changes in you or anyone, go to the hospital or send the person to the hospital.

I have seen a girl confess to witchcraft and saying she has snakes in her belly and is ready to birth them out. They took her around from one church to another for years and her brother had to come from abroad and send her to the hospital where it was identified that she had some mental illness. After been treated, she was told of all she said and she denied ever saying she was a witch or had snakes in her belly”.

The issue of witchcraft and mental health has recently been in the media following the abuse of a woman identified as Madam Akua Denteh, who on Thursday was beaten to death at Kafaba, a farming community in the Salaga South Constituency by some local residents who accused her of witchcraft.

She was accused of being responsible for the slow pace of development and hardships suffered by the youth in the Kafaba community.

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