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WHO: 2.4 million Ghanaians suffering from mental illness

The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed concern over the mental health situation in Ghana, stating that nearly 2.4 million citizens may be suffering from various degrees of mental illness.

The organization emphasizes the need for increased collaboration to improve the country’s struggling mental healthcare system, including infrastructure and technical support.

Ghana’s Mental Health Authority has frequently voiced its concerns about the severely underfunded state of the nation’s mental healthcare system.

They highlight that this, combined with the significant deterioration of existing infrastructure, fails to adequately address the psychological needs of the Ghanaian population.

Professor Francis Kasalo, the World Health Organization’s representative to Ghana, shared his apprehensions about this concerning trend in an interview on JoyNews.

“It is in Ghana for example out of the population of almost thirty million plus it is estimated that almost 2.4 million have a form of mental illness. That’s not a small number and if you are looking at that number why are we not investing in ensuring that those people receive appropriate care? So the numbers are huge” he said.

The WHO country representative in Ghana has identified a significant challenge in the delivery of mental healthcare in the country: the prevailing attitude of the general public towards mental health issues, often treating them as trivial matters. Furthermore, he expressed concern about the tendency to stigmatize individuals with mental illnesses by labeling them as naturally difficult, having anger issues, or even attributing their condition to spiritual problems.

In response to these concerning developments, Professor Kasolo announced that the WHO’s Ghana office is actively developing a comprehensive partnership framework with the government of Ghana. This collaborative effort aims to address and rectify the deficiencies in the mental healthcare sector.

“People should understand that we can build capacities for people who we assume are difficult people to be able to access these services to understand why is it that they’re behaving like that?” he quizzed.

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