The dignitaries cutting the cake to officially launch the foundation
First Deputy Speaker and Member of Parliament (MP) for Bekwai, Joe Osei Owusu, together with three other MPs, have indicated their intention to support mental health awareness creation in the country.
The three other parliamentarians are Alex Afenyo Markin, Dr Emmanuel Marfo and Samuel Atta Mills, MPs of Effutu, Oforikrom and Komenda Edina Eguafo Abirim (KEEA) constituencies respectively.
The support comes at a time the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Mental Health Authority, Dr Akwasi Osei, has been calling for lawmakers to pass the Mental Health Legislative Instrument which will see the introduction of the Mental Health Levy to provide funding for psychiatric hospitals.
Dr Osei added that it is time parliament considers passing the Mental Health Bill before the house.
“They should now begin to look at the medium to long-term approaches otherwise we will come back to square one, where we will feel we need to come and shout, beg and scream.
The medium to the long-term sustainable plan will eventually be the establishment of the mental health levy,” he said.
Announcing his support, Mr Osei Owusu disclosed that mental health issues cannot remain unnoticed and tied as a spiritual condition and emphasized that nearly everyone, especially the youth, are at risk of experiencing a form of mental health condition
“It is unfortunate that the subject has not received the much needed attention by the public, legislation and government for several years now but we believe it is time it receives the needed attention and support,” he indicated.
He was speaking at the launch of by PsycHealth Ghana Foundation, a non-governmental organisation aimed at creating awareness and better healthcare services for people with mental health conditions in the country.
He charged his three colleagues to submit a report to parliament on the subject with the aim of improving mental healthcare.
The CEO of PsycHealth Ghana Foundation, Helena Baaba Botwe, a registered mental health nurse, was hopeful that her team would work towards getting Ghanaians to seek medical attention rather than the present situation where mental health is aligned to the supernatural.
She explained that the awareness creation will target JHS and SHS students, market women, churches, mosques, among other groups nationwide.
By Solomon Ofori