The Total Life Enhancement Centre- Ghana (TOLEC GH), a health NGO, has called on government to help address mental health treatment gaps and psychological health delivery in the country.
Mr Peter Mintir Amadu, the Executive Director of the NGO, said neglecting the mental health situation in the country could affect the nation's progress and noted that only two per cent of the Ghanaian population was able to access mental health treatment and services.
Mr Amadu who is a Clinical Psychologist spoke in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at the Nurses Training School in Zuarungu in the Bolgatanga East District, where his outfit was present to create awareness on mental health among the student nurses and to introduce a peer counselor's concept in the school.
He said there was a mental health treatment deficit of 98 per cent and that indicated that people in such situations were not able to get support, which affected their productivity levels.
"We need a resourced health facility or a mental health corner not just for consultation, but a space provided with professionals where individuals can be observed and advised", he said.
He also called on government to recruit professionals to support in managing mental health in the country.
TOLEC GH. is an NGO that deals with psychological and mental health advocacy, supporting the general population especially the youth live healthier and productive life through awareness creation and linkage for psychological and counseling services among others.
Reverend Aaron Prosper Kuubagr, a psychologist and member of the Ghana Psychiatry Association, reiterated that the lack of full compliments of mental health services was detrimental to both affected individuals and the society.
Rev. Kuubagr said there were only two psychologists in the five regions of the north and no psychiatrists serving in that part of the country.
He urged government to introduce psychiatry training as a full course in every nursing institution to enable student nurses to go for mental health training and management, so that health facilities in the country would have adequate numbers of psychiatry nurses.
He decried the inadequate budgetary allocation for mental health in the country and said most of the resources were channeled into other areas that did not serve the needs of mental health and therefore called for needed checks and balances on how funding was used for mental health.
He said many mental health patients were unable to pay for treatment and lack of drugs in some facilities deterred people in such situations to go for further medical attention because of cost of drugs.
"A session in a private entity cost GHC 150.00 and that also prevent people to go for treatment, however this could be subsidised in public facilities.
Mr Daniel Acquah, a mental health advocate, took the students through emotional management and how it was critical for the students to take their health serious.
Mr Michael Manlamia, the Principal of the Zuarungu NTC, commended TOLEG for organising the seminar and reiterated that mental health was relegated to the background and hoped that TOLEG GH would provide the roadmap for the peer counselors in the school.
He noted that the school also had a counseling unit headed by a psychiatric tutor, who could help in the new collaboration.