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Gov’t Must Care For Mentally Ill   
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Speakers at a community durbar in Kasoa in the Central Region, on Tuesday, urged the government to initiate policies to make the mentally ill and epileptic patients direct beneficiaries of social intervention programmes.

They said the government’s social intervention programmes were limited to some categories of Persons with Disability (PWD), ignoring the mentally sick and those with epilepsy.

The durbar was on the theme: “Inclusion of People with Mental Illness and Epilepsy in Government’s social Intervention Programmes at the Local Governance Level to Enhance Recovery, Participation and Reintegration for National Development.”

Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson, Member of Parliament for Awutu Senya East Constituency, said the society had a responsibility of caring for persons with mental problems, hence the need to help them acquire social and economic skills for survival.

She said persons with mental illness and epilepsy needed to have free treatment and ought to be brought closer to society.

She also said the District Assemblies Common Fund allocated to PWDs was not being released regularly, a situation, she noted had pushed many of them back to the streets to beg for alms.

Mrs Koomson, therefore, urged the government to ensure the timely release of the fund as well as to include the mentally ill and epileptic patients in its social intervention programmes to enable them to sharpen their skills and become relevant to society.

Ms Eunice Tetteh, Project Officer at Basic Needs Ghana, a non-governmental organization, said the need to rope them in the social intervention programmes was critical and urged the government to consider the request with all seriousness.

She said mental health was a right and not a privilege since the right to access healthcare was enshrined in the highest law of the land, which ought to be respected.

Mr Humphrey Kofie, Executive Secretary, Mental Health Society of Ghana, said one out of every five persons had a mental health problem and urged Ghanaians to visit the psychiatric hospital for check-ups at least once in a year.

Basic Needs Ghana and the Mental Health Society of Ghana, organised the durbar, as part of the implementation of a five-year project titled: “Support Government to build National Mental Health System that effectively and efficiently respond to the mental health needs of the population.”
Source: GNA

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