Ghana’s lack of attention to mental health issues points to its “lack of humanity”, New Crusading Guide Editor Abdul-Malik Kweku Baako has said.

His comment follows the declaration of a strike by nurses at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital – the nation’s foremost mental health facility – over what they described as dangerous working conditions.

The nurses had complained of increased aggressive behaviour towards them and other staff of the hospital by patients following a shortage of medication for inmates and other supplies to facilitate their work.

Though government has released some GHS300,000 to alleviate the situation, Mr Baako was certain the nation had not shown enough commitment to address challenges with mental health, given the perennial troubles the sector had grappled with.

“It shows the lack of humanity in us as a state, as a nation… We’ve had parties launching manifestos with huge promises relative to mental health. We’ve had parliament even pass a Mental Health Act not too long ago… In terms of the talking, we appear to be on top of the issue,” he said, adding that as a state, Ghana was “spending much more on other things that are perhaps are not as important”.

The veteran journalist thus asked that “our sensitivity as human beings” should occasion “prioritisation” of the needs of mental patients since “it’s a very delicate thing”.

“It’s a reflection of the lack of humanity in us and I think it’s about time we do something about it. It’s a shame, it’s a complete indictment of who we are – both from the government level to all the other institutions that ought to be dealing with this particular challenge,” he told host Samson Lardy Anyenini on Multi TV’s Newsfile on Saturday November 5.