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Tamale-based NGO appeals to government for logistics to improve mental health care in the north


GUPKA-TIMALIA Tamale-based non-governmental organization, Gub-Katimali Society, has appealed to government and MMDAs to provide the necessary logistics to improve the state of mental health in the northern region.

Making the appeal on Wednesday in Tamale at a two-day media training workshop on mental health reporting,  the managing director of the organization, Sheikh Yakubu Abdul-Karim, said mental health units still lack the necessary facilities to cater to patients suffering from the  disease.

The workshop which brought together about  journalists from all media houses within the northern region was under the auspices of DFID, UKAID and the European Union. The initiative is aimed at supporting the government of Ghana to build a national mental health system that effectively and efficiently responds to the mental health needs of the population.

GKS was established in 1991 and previously was involved in micro-credit management, agriculture, women empowerment and enrollment of the girl-child in school but is currently into mental health.

The project will result in increased access to quality mental health care services through integration into primary health care (PHC). It will also reduce the current high mental health treatment gap and will enable men, women, girls and boys with neuro-psychiatric conditions to live and work successfully in their communities.

Sheihk Abdul-Karim stated categorically that the workshop would go a long way to offer journalists the opportunity to delve deep into mental health issues.

He further revealed that the concept was neglected over the years but with the intervention of GKS has brought it to light and that the training would go a long way to reduce or even eradicate mental health issues in the country. Participants were taken through some tips on how to report on mental health issues, causes of mental health and the importance and functions of a producer in a program.

Some of the causes of mental disorders stated are biological predisposition, psychological and environmental factors, poverty, unemployment, homelessness and the like. Illustrating how journalists should report on mental health issues, a retired journalist, Alidu Baba urged reporters to conduct strict investigation before writing a story, and should familiarize themselves with provisions of the mental health Act.

He also added that journalists should develop relationship with community mental health officers, care givers and mental health experts. “Persons with disability are a distinct group whose needs, capacity and aspirations require special attention,’’ Mr Alidu emphasized.

The workshop is to encourage good, timely and appropriate media reporting on mental health issues across the region to increase local citizens’ knowledge and understanding of mental health issues.

It is also to prod service providers to include mental health issues into development plans so as to make a meaningful contribution to the treatment and prevention of all forms of mental disorders, especially in rural areas.

By: Lilian Walter & Kwame Tamakloe/



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