Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority, Dr Akwasi Osei, has disclosed that 41% of Ghanaians have mental problem.
According to him in a reported sighted on pulse.com.gh, the stated percentage of Ghanaians quoted suffer from psychological distress.
He backed his point by quoting a research conducted by a group of scholars from Yale University in the US and the University of Ghana, Legon.
Dr Akwasi Osei further revealed that it has caused a loss of productivity that amounts to 7% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product ( GDP).
Dr Osei was speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of an international conference on precision in psychiatric medicine in Accra.
Mental health in Ghana
Dr Osei said the research report by the scholars, released in 2013, showed that mental health issues needed to be taken seriously in the country.
He said apart from the loss in GDP, mental health problems threatened security in the sense that people suffering from such problems sometimes became violent and attacked others.
Dr Osei said currently mental health issues were on the rise in Ghana due to the abuse of cannabis and alcohol.
He debunked the notion that the use of cannabis had no effect on one’s mental health and said studies over the years had shown a strong and indisputable correlation between the two.
“Cannabis distorts the ability of one’s brain to grow the way it should so one is not able to reason or judge properly,” he said, adding that many users of cannabis dropped out of school because of their inability to cope with academic work.
Ghana’s mental health capacity
Turning the spotlight on the capacity of the country’s health service to handle the increasing mental health problems in the country, Dr Osei said the situation had got better.
“We now have 32 psychiatrists. We have doubled the number of psychiatric nurses that we have and the number of clinical psychologists we had has also doubled. However, it is still not good enough,” he said.
Despite revealing that work is being put in place to avert it, he also indicated that there is no enough funding.