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As part of celebrating this year’s World Mental Health Day, a Head of Mental Health Unit at the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) David Larbi has called on the government to invest more in the area of mental health.

According to him, the area has been neglected for far too long, hence the need for the government to invest in the area.

He mentioned inadequate infrastructure and man power in the sector as some of the challenges the sector is currently facing.

Mental health care according to him must be accessible to all irrespective of the location.  Mr. David noted despite several efforts to clear the myths surrounding mental illness, a number of people still perceive the condition to be caused by demons, witches, evil spirits and ancestral curses especially in the northern part of the country.

‘’In this scientific era we still perceive the causes of mental illness to be demonic, and as a result many do not actually pay attention to the mentally ill people,” he observed.

He however said personnel at the facility are available to provide the needed care for individuals who visit the facility for treatment. He also displaced claims that mental illness cannot be cured.

‘’It is not true that people with mental illness cannot be treated, we have lawyers, teachers, doctors who are mentally sick and have been put on treatment and they are going about their normal duties, I think it is ignorance that makes people think that mental illness cannot be treated,” Mr. David emphasized.

Speaking in an interview with Zaa News, Mr. David indicates that mental health is important to the country’s development.

‘’If one is mentally ill it reduces productivity and the failure to invest in mental health is disastrous’’.

He mentioned sudden total isolation, wrong accusations, sleeplessness, talking to one’s self, rejection as some of the signs and symptoms of mental illness. He also called for the decriminalization of suicide tendencies.

‘’People who attempt suicide need help and not to be treated like criminals’’, he added.

Ghana on October 10, joined the world to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

By: Lilian Walter

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