Government must invest more in mental health, says MHA

A statement issued and signed by Caroline Amissah, the acting CEO of the MHA, to commemorate World Bipolar Day, said greater investments in mental health will have multiple social and economic benefits for the country

The Mental Health Authority (MHA) has urged the government to make available the financial and logistical resources required for the transformation of the mental health system in Ghana.

A statement issued and signed by Caroline Amissah, the acting chief executive of the MHA, to commemorate World Bipolar Day which falls on 30 March every year, said greater investments in mental health will have multiple social and economic benefits for the country.

It would create better physical health outcomes, leading to a healthy workforce essential for maintaining economic competitiveness.

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings. These mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behaviour and the ability to think clearly.

Episodes of mood swings may occur rarely or multiple times a year. While most people will experience some emotional symptoms between episodes, some may not experience any.

Lifelong condition

Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, it can be managed by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder is treated with medications and psychological counselling.

Amissah noted that the commemoration of the day on 30 March every year is to create awareness and educate people about the disorder and to reduce the stigma associated with it.

She said the day is for “connecting, reaching out, and coming together in solidarity to discuss issues surrounding acceptance and support for persons living with the disorder,” which she termed the third most debilitating mental illness in Ghana.

She said “in 2019 we recorded 1,337 cases; this increased to 1,415 and 1,669 in 2020 and 2021 respectively. There was a further increase to 1,759 in 2022. This trend is quite worrying, hence the need for all to be concerned. These figures may be higher than we know for reasons such as non-help-seeking behaviours, stigma, and data capture challenges.

“Awareness needs to be created among family members to observe their ward with emotional and behavioural symptoms, and to know when and where to seek help.”

She stressed that “school officials are also needed for prompt and early identification of symptoms and can work together with caregivers to provide a plan that will best support the student who is diagnosed with the disorder.”

Amissah emphasised that family members, parents and guardians can help to improve care by learning more about the condition. 

She said “we are happy to state that help is readily available in all government hospitals across the country to assist family members in managing their wards with bipolar disorder. Given the nature of the disease, it is critical that the public seek expert advice from trained mental health professionals.”

She called on Ghanaians to make a personal commitment to acquire knowledge on bipolar disorder and mental health in general, to better understand and support friends and loved ones living with such conditions. 


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