Positive mental health condition linked to productivity — Consultant Psychiatrist

By Maxwell Awumah, GNA 

Ho, Dec 08, GNA – Dr Eugene Dordoye, Consultant Psychiatrist, Ho Teaching Hospital has drawn a direct linkage between positive mental health condition and measurement of productivity impacting on the economy of any country. 

He said globally, countries with higher measurement of productivity are notable for positive mental health situations and it behoved on duty-bearers to set the right mental balance and psyche to drive a healthy growth of economies. 

Dr Dordoye, who doubles as Lecturer, University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) disclosed these during a workshop for traditional, Community and Religious Leaders as well as Social and Health workers and related NGOs in Ho. 

It was organised by MindFreedom Ghana (MFGh) on the theme, “Mental Health Is Total Health.” 

He said to become wealthy and prosperous hinges greatly on the welfare of actors in the economy driven by productivity. 

He said currently the situation in the country equates one psychiatrist doctor to 400,000 population, which is progressive but far from an ideal situation, from the one psychiatrist to two million people in the last 15 years. 

He said the ideal situation is about one psychiatrist to less than 100,000 population, which is a clarion call to train a lot more to increase the capacity of doctors in general and train more in mental health.  

Dr Dordoye said efforts to train many more psychiatrist doctors, psychologists mental health nurses was receiving attention, and they are engaged in lots of advocacies to stem the tide.  

He isolated drug abuse or alcohol addiction and drug addiction as well as sexual addiction to be on the ascendancy with alcohol considered a drug, being abused the most in the Volta region, which depicts a countrywide scenario. 

He said prescription drugs are also being abused including sickle cell disease opiods, which are posing some mental challenges. 

The Consultant said sex addiction and screen dependency, which involves the use of mobile phones, Television, computer, and social media constitute cravings with adult games like gambling and betting becoming offshoots. 

He said gambling and betting frazzle was dangerous and addictive for mental health and described the probability in gaming as no investment comparable to forex trading and an avenue to waste a chunk of youthful brains and potentials. 

He said brain-drain could be curbed by training regimes targeted for export like the India and Cuba experiences to rake in the needed foreign exchange the human resources that may accrue and deployed for internal consumption. 

“This will bring out solutions which are practicable and feasible and have a win-win approach so that even when there is drain, we could still have some left to service the country. 

The political will, financial capability, and training of health professionals across board is a recipe’ to attain universal health coverage (UHC),” he added.  

Mr Wisdom Kodjo Krakani, a Probation Officer, Department of Social Welfare, Ho Municipal mentioned dementia, bipolar disorder, autism, schizophrenia, depressive and anxiety disorders as forms of mental disorder, which may manifest in a variety of conditions that negatively affect mood and behaviour. 

He said paramount in the delivery of standard mental health service in Ghana is the Mental Health Act 846, which was passed by an act of Parliament in 2012, which also enshrines the rights of Persons with mental disorders as follows; non-discrimination, basic human rights, incapacity, and human rights. 

“We must always remember that violating these provisions come with punishments in equal measure but in all things let love lead.” 

He said persons with mental disorder, like any other human being, have inalienable right, fundamentally; right to life, fair treatment, protection from harm, protection from torture and degrading treatment. 

“Internationally, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD) was adopted on 13th December 2006 and Ghana signed onto it in 2007 and committed to affirming full human rights for persons with disability upon ratifying the Convention in 2012.  

These international laws speak against maltreatment of Persons with Disabilities which also involves Persons with Mental Disorders,” he said. 

At the national level, Mr Krakani said the Criminal Code of Ghana (Act 29/60), the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the Disability Act 715 of 2006 among other documents, in parts criminalise the maltreatment of Persons with Disability. 

Mr Divine Bosson, Ho Municipal Chief Executive commended the forthrightness of Mind Freedom Ghana for their advocacy on mental health with patients benefiting from the Common fund for rehabilitation and treatment. 

He said the Assembly has encouraged the Department of Social Welfare to regularly visit religious establishments including prayer camps to educate them on avoiding abuse of mental victims but seek medical attention. 

Mr Dan Taylor, Executive Secretary of MFGh said his outfit has presented 15 projects on rights of mental victims to the United Nations Human Rights Council, two of which were adopted and 12 receiving recommendation into their reports. 

He said challenges such as lack of family and community support, stigma, poor infrastructure, and inability to access social support fund militate against the welfare of people with mental illnesses. 

Meanwhile, a community outreach was undertaken at Akoefe, in the Ho Municipality as part of advocacy to sensitise the community members on mental health issues.