Use petroleum fund, other taxes to finance mental health – Akwasi Osei

Dr. Akwesi Osei, CEO of the Mental Health Authority

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Mental Health Authority, Dr. Akwesi Osei says mental health care in Ghana is under resourced and urgently needs a sustainable funding mechanism.

He has asked the Ministry of Finance to establish the mental health levy required under Act 846 of the Mental Health Act 2012 to enable the authority generate money to attend to the mental health needs of the public.

Dr. Osei told the Goldstreet Business in an interview in Accra on Tuesday that the mental health levy “would ensure that part of the national taxes derived from the telecommunication networks, fuel and the special petroleum fund are dedicated to funding mental health”.

He observed that the lack of political will on the part of government to provide a Legislative Instrument (LI)to support the implementation the mental health Act 2012 has made it difficult to provide effective mental health care services in Ghana.

World Mental Health day

As Ghana joins the rest of the world to observe the World Mental Health Day today, Dr. Osei says the government must consistently release money for mental health care and procure psychotropic medicines for mental health care.

He said without this, Ghana’s development as a nation will always be retarded and Ghanaians will rightly blame governments.

According to Dr. Osei, the government has not released any substantial funding for the provision of care in all three mental health facilities since the beginning of the year.

“The government has only paid salaries of mental health nurses, but has not committed resources to provide services to mental health patients,” he said.

He stated that everyone is prone to mental illness, hence the need for the public to assist and give care to persons with mental illness.

By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey