Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Mental Health Authority, Dr Akwasi Osei, has revealed that Forty-one per cent (41%) of Ghanaians have some form of mental disorders, particularly psychological distress.
According to a research conducted by a group of scholars from Yale University in the US and the University of Ghana, Legon, the loss of productivity as a result of the problem amounted to seven per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He was speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of an international conference on precision in psychiatric medicine.
Dr Osei said the research report by the scholars, released in 2013, showed that mental health issues needed to be taken seriously in the country.
He said apart from the loss in GDP, mental health problems threatened security in the sense that people suffering from such problems sometimes became violent and attacked others.
Dr Osei said currently mental health issues were on the rise in Ghana due to the abuse of cannabis and alcohol.
He debunked the notion that the use of cannabis had no effect on one’s mental health and said studies over the years had shown a strong and indisputable correlation between the two.
“Cannabis distorts the ability of one’s brain to grow the way it should so one is not able to reason or judge properly,” he said, adding that many users of cannabis dropped out of school because of their inability to cope with academic work.
He, however, expressed the hope that with the coming into effect of the Mental Health Law and a Legislative Instrument to support it, a mental health levy would be exacted from Ghanaians to provide funding for the sector.