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20% Ghanaians Mad
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The Chief Psychiatrist of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Akwasi Osei has stated that about 20% of Ghanaians suffer from mental illness. He noted that this per cent of the population suffers from psychosocial disabilities such as depression, stress and other related mental illnesses that are not necessarily madness but can lead to madness if not managed carefully.

Speaking at the launch of an advocacy project organized by the Ghana Federation of the Disabled towards the ratification of the United Nation (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability and the Passage of the Ghana Mental Health bill, he said mental health issues go far beyond madness.

He therefore charged the government to speed up efforts in the passage of the Mental Health Bill since it will enable the country tackle issues affecting persons with disability and also advance their course.

According to him, the passage of the bill will also strengthen advocacy groups to fight for the correction of social imbalance existing in the country.

The 1st Vice President of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled,
Mr. Joseph Adu Boampong for his part made a passionate appeal to the president and cabinet to initiate actions towards the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.

He expressed hope that the present government will ratify the convention with urgency, noting that signing on the convention alone is not enough.

Persons with Disabilities in Ghana face a lot of challenges in their daily lives in the areas of societal attitudes on them, discrimination, education, employment, health and others, he said.

Mr. Adu-Boampong observed that the coming into force of the convention marks and important development in disabled peoples pursuit of equality. He noted that the UN convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities closes a major gap in human rights protection for hundreds of millions of people around the world.

It requires us to move away from charity-oriented or medical-based approaches to a human rights based approach to disabilities, these traditional approaches and attitudes, no matter how well-intentioned they might have been, regarded persons with disabilities either as passive recipients of good will or deeds or as problems to be fixed, or both, he stated.

Mr. Adu-Boampong was of the view that the convention has the potential to be highly useful tool in the struggle to improve disabled peoples lives.

Madam Janet Amegather of MindFreedom Ghana, statistics released by the WHO indicates that by year 2010, psychosocial disabilities will become the second largest non-communicable disease in the world with as many as 154 million people around the world suffering from depression and 121 million also suffering from anxiety and stress related problems.
Source: The Enquirer/Ghana

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