Professor Sammy Ohene, a consultant psychiatrist who is also the Dean of the Faculty of Psychiatry at the Ghana and West Africa Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons, has argued for the implementation of taxes on both cigarettes and alcohol to support the Mental Health Fund.

This assertion was made by Prof. Ohene during the inaugural talk on mental health in honor of Prof. E.F.B. Forster, whom many have referred to as the founding father of psychology in Ghana.

The lecture’s topic was “Ten Years of Mental Health Act: Measuring the Impact,” and it included a panel discussion.

Prof Sammy Ohene

He claimed that by dedicating the tax increase to the fund, which he called empty, the country would be in a better position to establish decent facilities and the necessary workforce to deal with issues related to mental health, even as the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 10% of the nation’s citizens suffer from some kind of mental illness.

Receiving assistance from the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons as well as the WHO, the talk was co-organized by the Mental Health Authority, the American Chamber of Ghana, and Janssen, a pharmaceutical company owned by Johnson and Johnson.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Prof. Joseph Asare Bediako, a former chief psychiatrist, in recognition of his exceptional accomplishments and contributions to mental health teaching and practice both within the nation and even beyond.

Prof. Joseph Asare Bediako

Prof. Ohene noted that, despite the Mental Health Act having been passed ten years prior, there were still instances of abuse of people with mental health disorders’ human rights in the nation. He emphasized the importance of continuing education in the Mental Health Act for all important parties, including the judges, the police, and even non-psychiatric professionals.

The nation needs more psychiatrists, according to Professor Akwasi Osei, a former chief executive officer of the Mental Health Authority (MHA). He urged widespread public education, not just in the news as well as at workplaces, mosques, and churches.

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