Dr. Akwasi Osei is the CEO of the Mental Health Authority

Chief Executive of the Mental Health Authority, has said that the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that mental health has been disregarded by the Health Ministry and the nation as a whole.

Dr Akwasi Osei said, “The pandemic has revealed the huge gaps and cracks that we have in our system. Our health system doesn’t specifically mention mental health.

“Incidentally, [the general healthcare system] hasn’t recognised that and it does not look like we are making an effort as a ministry and a nation to fill the gap by giving the necessary support to give recognition.”

His remarks come as patients who have recovered from Covid-19, after being discharged from the hospital have faced discrimination in their communities.

The people have nowhere or no one to turn to for mental or psychological support.

Though the Mental Health Authority has been underfunded for a while before the outbreak of the disease, Dr Osei said the support it can give to recovered patients cannot be carried out.

He explained that even though there is an overall team catering to Covid-19 related issues, the task force at the district level who are designated to visit homes of recovered patients and their community, cannot execute their duties because they do not have the ‘necessary support’.”

“It should have been the case that our people go round, but we go round giving that we have the support but that is not there,” he said.

However, he remains optimistic that the revelation of the lack of attention on mental health by the pandemic will bring about solutions to make sure the seb-sector is prioritised going forward.

“This COVID-19 pandemic is bringing three things we need to change; change in our mentality, change in our structures, and changing in our systems and one of this is recognition that we have left Mental health far behind.”

“I believe that every crisis brings an opportunity. There is a role that the MHA has to play so that the 400+ recovered patients will be given the necessary support; emotional and psychological support. We go to their house and engage the community,” he added.