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SPEED UP NEW MENTAL HEALTH LAW: CDD URGES PARLIAMENT

Health & Lifestyle

Parliament has been charged by a prominent research and advocacy institute, the Centre for Democratic Development, Ghana (CDD-Ghana), to speed up passage of a legislative instrument (LI) to give backing to the Mental Health Act passed in 2012.

Parliament has been charged by a prominent research and advocacy institute, the Centre for Democratic Development, Ghana (CDD-Ghana), to speed up passage of a legislative instrument (LI) to give backing to the Mental Health Act passed in 2012.

 

The institute, in a statement to mark this year’s World Mental Health Day, observed on October 10 each year, also tasked the government to invest more resources in ensuring full implementation of the act.

According to the institute, as result of high unemployment in Ghana, coupled with difficult economic conditions, young Ghanaians are likely to suffer mental distress, which could pose a danger to the country’s future.

Grave concern

“It is important to safeguard the future of our country by protecting the mental health of the youth to enable them to contribute meaningfully to the socio-economic development of Ghana, as they make up a greater percentage of the country’s workforce,” CDD-Ghana said.

It observed that six years after the Mental Health Act 2012 (Act 846) was passed, there is still a challenge to its implementation, because there is no LI to ensure effective deployment of the new law.

“This, coupled with insufficient resources allocated to mental health care, the inadequate number of mental health professionals, cultural and traditional factors that impede the efficient delivery of mental health care, total disregard for the dignity and fundamental human rights of mental health patients, and absence of a governing board for the Mental Health Authority, should be matters of grave concern not only to government, but to citizens as well,” CDD-Ghana said.

Educate the public

CDD-Ghana pressed the government to present a legislative instrument to Parliament, among other things, as soon as the House resumes sitting. This will ensure the full operationalisation of the Mental Health Act 2012 (Act 846), the institute said.

It also called on the government to provide adequate resources to all mental health centres across Ghana and to set up a mental health fund.

Moreover, CDD-Ghana charged the government with appointing a governing board for the Mental Health Authority, as well as providing the Authority with the resources it needs to operate.

“A collaboration between government institutions responsible for this sector, non-state actors including civil society organisations, and the media [should] educate the public on mental health issues and increase the number of mental health workers through better remuneration and education,” the statement read.

Finally, the institute urged the government to seize the chance to put in place systems to ensure quality mental health care for Ghanaians.
“This day presents a unique opportunity for the government and all stakeholders to reflect and take steps to improve upon the existing structures,” the statement said.