A Senior Social Development Officer at the Department of Social Welfare, Mr Christopher Komla, has called for close collaboration among stakeholders to clear mentally challenged people from the streets.
According to him, there was the need for stakeholders such as the psychiatric hospitals, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the police to closely work with the department to be able to carry out its mandate effectively.
Mr Komla made the appeal in an interview with The Mirror in Accra.
The Mental Health Act 2012 (Act 846) provides for the creation of a modern, community-based mental health system and for the protection of the rights of persons with mental disorders.
But as it stands now, most people suffering from mental disorders do not receive adequate care that they are supposed to get.
“Due to the nature of our work, we need the support of the public and all other stakeholders to be able to clear those with mental illness from the street and manage the situation,” he said.
Social Welfare operation
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Explaining how the Social Welfare Department assist the mentally challenged patients, Mr Komla said they were usually taken through therapies after which they were sent home if they had fully recovered.
“In helping to reintegrate them into the society, we usually have to prepare them by providing skills training for those who do not have jobs, so that they can get some skills to be able to fend for themselves when they go home.
“I will advise the general public and families who have such people in their families to seek knowledge on mental health care to be able to cater for them because it is not easy. I believe family or the society neglect these people because they lack the knowledge about mental health care,” he noted.
He further called on families not to neglect people with mental health challenges in order not to become a burden on the society.
With the department’s “Get them off the street” programme, he said he believed a lot of the mentally challenged would be cleared off the street.
“I believe with time, Social Welfare will be able to clear, if not all, most of the patients off the streets,” he stated.