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Mental health authority raises alarm about ‘criminal lunatics’


The Ghana Mentaimagel Health Authority (MHA) in the northern region says it is worried about the current phenomenon in the country where criminals feign mental illness after committing crimes..

According to the agency, the phenomenon if not checked could cause havoc in the country. The Authority said there are instances where criminal lunatics all of a sudden become abnormal.

Northern regional coordinator of Mental Health Authority, Mumuni Fuseini  Salifu explained the difference between criminal lunatics who commit crimes and immediately turn mentally ill when they are caught and lunatic criminals those with mental problems who commit criminal crime.

The authority said government and stakeholders in health sector need to step up their efforts in addressing mental health issues.

In 2015, one Charles Antwi went to a church were President Mahama John Mahama worship with a gun and allegedly attempted to shoot the president. After he was arrested and charged, lawyers and his family mounted  a strong defense arguing that he was mentally ill.

On February 9, 2016, a 19-year-old, Daniel Asiedu went to the house of the member of parliament for Abuakwa North, Mr. J.B Danqua house and stabbed him to death. A lawyer for the suspect demanded a psychiatry examination for his client at the Accra magistrate court on Tuesday. The Authority said this was worrying.

The authority said government and stakeholders in health sector need to step up their efforts in addressing mental health issues especially in the north. The authority lamented that there is no psychiatry hospital in the northern regions of the north and the northern belt which covers Brong Ahafo.

The regional mental health coordinator said even though there are psychiatry and mental health nurses across the 26 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies there is no psychiatry hospital to refer mental patients.

The most worrying to the Authority was that there is no ward at the only referral hospital in the northern region-the Tamale Teaching Hospital. The northern region alone, Mr.  Salifu said, has over three hundred mentally-ill people some of whom are on the streets of the metropolis.

Under its four-year program, the authority is aiming at getting rid of all mentally ill people on the streets of all the major cities and towns in the region.

The coordinator appealed to the youth to stop consuming narcotics substances and non-prescribed drugs. He expressed worry that some youth in Tamale now take tramadol, a medicine use to treat moderate to severe pains.

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