The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed grave concern over the state of mental health in Ghana, revealing that nearly 2.4 million Ghanaians may be grappling with various forms of mental illness.
In light of this alarming statistic, the WHO emphasizes the urgent need for collaborative efforts to bolster the country's faltering mental healthcare system, focusing on both infrastructure and technical support.
Speaking in an interview on JoyNews, Professor Francis Kasalo, the WHO representative to Ghana, highlighted the significance of this issue.
“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.
Professor Kasalo emphasized that a critical challenge in Ghana is the general public's attitude towards mental health, often treating it lightly.
He also lamented the tendency to label individuals with mental health conditions as naturally difficult, prone to anger, or even experiencing spiritual problems.
In response to these concerns, Professor Kasalo disclosed that WHO, Ghana is actively developing a comprehensive framework for partnership with the government of Ghana. This collaboration aims to address the shortcomings in the mental healthcare sector and to build capacities for those in need to access vital services.
"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.
As Ghana grapples with this mental health crisis, the World Health Organization's call for concerted action underscores the pressing need to prioritize mental healthcare and destigmatize these conditions.