The government has been urged to commit more resources towards mental health care and activities in the country.
It has also been challenged to cover the cost of mental health services under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
This is the central call of the Mental Health Authority (MHA), World Health Organization (WHO) and Ghana Somubi Dwumadie (Ghana Participation Programme), as the world marks World Mental Health Day.
The theme for the 2021 World Mental Health Day is ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World.’
“We are calling for investment in Mental Health to support improved access to psychotropic medicines, non-drug therapies, and strengthened governance and accountability measures, such as the establishment of the Mental Health Review Tribunal,” they said.
The three partners in a statement said lack of adequate financing of mental health activities and programmes is negatively affecting the delivery of quality mental health services in the country.
They said the COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation worse, hence the need for urgent action by the government.
“The lack of sufficient financing is acknowledged to be a critical gap in mental health service provision in Ghana. Stakeholders are keen to identify opportunities to increase the flow of funds in a sustainable way, to support mental health. Gaps in mental health service provision have been made worse by the negative impact of COVID-19 on people’s mental health,” they said in a the statement.
Data from the World Health Organization estimates that about 650,000 Ghanaians have some form of mental challenge.
The three partners say they have started some work to address the challenges of mental health in Ghana.
“A high-level technical working group, led by the Mental Health Authority facilitated by Ghana Somubi Dwumadie and including WHO, has overseen and guided work to develop an investment case for mental health.”
“Members of the group are drawn from key mental health constituencies, such as government and non-government stakeholders, development partners and academics, as well as key areas of expertise. This broad and high-level membership revealed 3 key outcomes:
- Investing in mental health supports Ghana’s economic growth
- Investing in mental health strengthens poverty reduction efforts
- Investing in mental health improves population health and reduces the burden on the health system
“We are also calling for the inclusion of mental health into the National Health Insurance Scheme benefits package, and the use of the United Nations-One Health Tool to accurately cost key mental health interventions and address resource adequacy for mental health service and system scale-up,” the partners stated, adding that the local government ministry must enforce the existing policy to compel MMDAs to make budgetary allocations for mental health.