Cases of mental disorders are soaring in Brong-Ahafo, Mr Joseph Yere, the Regional Mental Health Coordinator, has said.
The region recorded 3,168 new cases of mental disorders from January to June this year, with epilepsy recording the highest figure of 1,405 cases.
In an interview during the re-launch of a Maternal Mental Health Project in Sunyani, Mr Yere said 1,642 were males and 1,526 cases were females in all the mental health cases recorded within the period.
The event was attended by queen mothers and mental health officers from eight municipalities and eight districts in the region.
Cases of attempted suicide were 58 and depression 269, he said, adding that three people, two females and a male succeeded in committing suicide.
Mr Yere said marital problems and poverty were the major contributory factors to the surge in mental health cases in the region and advised husbands to love their wives and draw them closer especially during pregnancy.
Titled, “Enhancing maternal mental health of pregnant women and mothers and their children to realise maternal and child health in Brong-Ahafo”, the project is being implemented by MIHOSO International Foundation and BasicNeeds Ghana, health focused non-governmental organisations.
With funding from the United Kingdom Agency for International Development (UKAID), the two year project is being implemented in the following districts: Sunyani, Wenchi, Techiman, Atebubu-Amantin, Kintampo North, Nkoarnza South, Berekum and Tano North Municipalities, as well as Sunyani West, Pru, Sene West, Banda, Jaman North, Tain, Techiman North and Nkoranza North.
Mr Yere said maternal mental health problems remain a major health challenge and this required concerted efforts to tackle.
Globally, he said, 10 per cent of pregnant women and 13 per cent of women who had given birth experienced mental disorders primarily due to depression.
In addition, about 20 per cent of mothers in developing countries experienced clinical depression after child birth, thus impeding the holistic upbringing and development of children.
Depression, Mr Yere said, causes enormous suffering and disability as well as reduced response to child health, adding that though cases of psychosis was much less in the region, it remains the contributory factor to suicides.
Dr Gabriel Gbiel Benarkuu, the Chief Executive Officer of MIHOSO, said the project is expected to reach out to 180 communities-3,590 pregnant women/mothers aged between 20 to 40 years and children below two years.
The project seeks to contribute to improved maternal health and livelihoods outcomes among poor and vulnerable women and girls, through enhancing the quality and accessibility of maternal mental health services.
This, Dr Benarkuu who is the National President of the Coalition of NGOs in Health, explained was in combination with behaviour change communication and income generation activities.
He said the project would yield useful outcomes depending on the commitment of the various mental health officers and appealed to traditional authorities in the beneficiary communities to also provide their support.