Mental Health Authority and mental health. Today is the mental health day. World Mental Health Day was observed for the first time on 10 October 1992. It was started as an annual activity of the World Federation for Mental Health by the then Deputy Secretary-General Richard Hunter. The day is officially commemorated every year on October 10th.
The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10 October every year. This year’s theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is ‘mental health for all’.
In Ghana, the day is marked by the Mental Health Authority. Unfortunately, the authority has been in the news more for their cry than for their successes. This stems from the fact that they do not receive the needed funding that will enable adequate running of their activities.
With just 1 per cent of the Health Budget allocated to the authority, one can only hope that the central government will take issues of the authority much more serious.
As today marks the World Mental Health Day, the Ghana Health News wishes to extend its gratitude to the headship of the authority and say well done to all who work in the area.
THE STORY SO FAR
Ghana successfully passed a Mental Health Act law in March 2012. The passing of the Act was a culmination of a lot of work by various individuals and institutions spanning several decades.
Finally, there is a raised prospect of the delivery of a better quality mental healthcare and also the protection of human rights of people with mental disorders in Ghana. Following the passage of the law, a paper that sort to identify and describe clusters of related potential problems referred to as ‘challenges’ involving different aspects of service delivery, which were anticipated to be encountered during the implementation of the law was also written.
The paper cautioned against the risk of allowing the new mental health law to add a new ‘legal’ burden to a list of perennial ‘burdens’ including underfunding, serious levels of understaffing and plummeting staff morale, which bisected earlier attempts at implementing a similar law that laid fallow for forty years.
Years down the line, it can be said that not much has been achieved.
Speaking exclusively to the Medical Journalists’ Association from his East Legon office, the head of the Mental Health Authority, Dr Osei Akwesi narrated how his story would have been different if he were speaking about the issue five to ten years back.
With just one per cent of the annual health budget which is already low, they can only do as much as funding would allow them.
On this day, the Medical Journalist Association wishes all professionals who work in the area of Mental Health the best for their selfless services.
According to the World Health Organisation, mental disorders accounted for 12% of the global disease burden in 2000. This figure is estimated to rise to 15% in 2020 when unipolar depression is predicted to rise from being the fourth to the second most disabling health condition in the world.