A Clinical Psychologist, Mr Emmanuel Dziwornu has appealed to government to pay equal attention to and commit adequate resources to mental health care as is being done for physical health care.
He observed that there was not just a total but long-standing neglect for mental health care in Ghana and generally in Africa, because there has been over-concentration on physical health care by African countries which did not make health care complete.
Mr Dziwornu, a staff of the Tamale Teaching Hospital made the observation when he facilitated a one day seminar on mental health for Physician Assistants and other health workers on Wednesday in Sunyani.
It was organised and sponsored by Total Life Enhancement Centre Ghana (TOLEC GH), a Tamale-based Ghanaian non-governmental organisation operating in the area of psychological/mental health, focusing on awareness creation and improvement in mental health literacy among the Ghanaian populace.
It was on the theme "Mental Health, a Challenge to Achieving Universal Health Coverage" and a cross-section of health workers from the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regions attended.
He claimed currently there was an increase of mental health conditions (disorders) due to unfavorable social, political and economic situations in the country, noting that the condition tended to affect the physical well-being of the individual in the society.
Mr Dziwornu argued "mental health is equal to total health because physical health without sound mental health is incomplete".
He contended that mental health dealt with the individual's ability to decide and take appropriate action, thus anything contrary to that implied life would be negatively affected and draw back the onward progress of the society.
Mr Peter Mintir Amadu, the Founder and Executive Director of TOLEC GH, earlier in an interview stated that "mental health is a neglected component of the health sector, not only in Ghana but worldwide because of funding problems, human resource and infrastructural challenges".
He cited in Ghana many of the health facilities did not have corners for mental health treatment, hence the existence of TOLEC GH to complement efforts of other organisations to make meaningful the definition of health by World Health Organisation (WHO) more than five decades ago.
WHO defines health as "a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being of the individual and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity," Mr Amadu quoted.
He therefore appealed to benevolent individuals, charitable institutions and corporate organisations interested in mental health care to extend financial support to TOLEC GH, because lack of funding "is a major challenge to execute most of the NGO's activities".
A participant, Mr John Kwakye Asamoah, a Clinical Psychiatric Officer at the Saint Elizabeth Catholic Hospital, Hwidiem, the Asutifi South District capital in the Ahafo Region, described the seminar as "very important" because it was a form of knowledge update for participants.