Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has called for a stronger media advocacy for sustainable financing model for mental health services in the country.
According to Dr. Nsiah Asare, all mental health patients must be registered onto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) since it is the only sustainable way of paying for mental health services in most countries worldwide.
He said the GHS would need the support of the media to get Government to consider the use of the NHIS in funding mental health services in Ghana.
The Director General was speaking at a sensitization workshop organized by the Mental Health Authority for Journalists in Kumasi. The training was to enlighten journalists on the mental health Act, how to report on suicide, depression as well as other related cases.
Dr Nsiah Asare emphasized the need for mental health patients to benefit from the NHIS.
“If you ask me, I think that the only way out is if mental health services are also catered for by the National Health Insurance. It can be done. Anybody who walks into a psychiatric hospital either he has health insurance or not should be registered. I don’t believe in any service which is paid for. Somebody has to pay for it. The only sustainable way anywhere in the world is through health insurance. So this is what we shall be advocating for and we need your support.”
He also called on the media to be lead advocates against the stigmatization of mental health patients in the country.
Reporting on suicide
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Mental Health Authority, Dr. Akwesi Osei, appealed to the media to be more circumspect when reporting on suicide related cases.
He expressed worry about how cases of suicide are sensationalized by some media practitioners in their reportage.
According to a 2012 World Health Organization (WHO) report, almost one million lives are lost yearly due to suicide, which translates to 3000 suicide deaths every day.