Mental Cases Increase in the North
2006-03-14 14:04:15This article has been read 731 times.Following the abnormal increase of mental illness among the youth in the Northern Region, a thorough research has been conducted by the Youth Idleness Control Centre (YICC), a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Tamale in the various senior and junior secondary schools across the region to unearth the genesis of the situation.
The research showed that the region and, for that matter Ghana, is almost at the threshold of losing about 40 to 50% of its future leaders to the use of hard drugs in 20 years to come, should the government fail in taking immediate action.
According to the Executive Director of YICC, Mr. Theodore Asamani, the YICC’s study also proved that the poor academic performances of the schools in the region was as a result of the habit of smoking, alcoholism and use of hard drugs adopted by large section of the students.
He asserted that this habit of smoking, alcoholism and use of hard drugs, which was a problem of very few students, was now becoming a “cultural habit” of a large number of students in the region, as shown in the study.
Attributing these behaviours to lack of parental and teacher control and monitoring at all levels, the YICC director warned strongly against the formation of unauthorized and secret social associations and groups among students in the various schools.
Speaking at a two-day training workshop organized by the YICC for some selected senior housemasters and housemistresses in Tamale, Mr. Asamani disclosed with shock that at least two out of every students were seriously smoking wee or using drugs.
The director alleged that about 65% of the students involved in these criminal activities were seriously into wee smoking, alcoholism and use of hard drugs, including good number of female students, saying, “We have gone round all the junior and senior secondary schools and all drinking bars and hotels and have found out that the female students out of prostitution and in the name of socialization drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes and wee as equal as their male counterparts”. This, he bemoaned, had also increased homosexualism, robbery, bullying and sexual abuses among students in the various senior and junior secondary schools.
Again, he said, “Ghana should expect violent future leaders as well as mad men and women who would either come and destroy our nation or become a nuisance which we have to spend substantial amounts of money to put them in order.”
The workshop, which was financed by the Basic Needs and Basic Rights, was under the topic: “Finding out Factors that Lead to Mental Illness - the Role of Teachers.”
It was aimed at empowering the teachers to easily identify and deal with drug culprits in their respective schools.
The YICC director passionately appealed to the Narcotics Control Board to intensify the arrest of drug peddlers and also come out with policies that would prevent the sellers from selling drugs to school going children.
Mr. Asamani again attacked parents to strictly monitor their children after school.
He promised more of such programmes or researches throughout the three northern regions and other parts of the country, but complained of lack of funding to facilitate their programmes.
One of the resource persons, Madam Amina Abukari, a Psychiatric Specialist and Deputy Director of Nursing Services-Northern Regional Health Directorate, emphasized that mental illness was affecting the economic development of this country, as it was losing a large number of its human resource base to the streets as mad persons.
Apart from this, she said the government was wasting a lot of resources and monies in putting up mental hospitals, buying clothing, drugs, and feeding and paying mental health specialists.
According to Madam Abukari, mental illness also brings disgrace to families with mad person or persons attached with stigmatizations because no individual would like to marry from such a family or house.
She therefore appealed to traditional and opinion leaders, security agencies and the government to come out with diverse interventions that would deter the youth from involving in drug trafficking or use, since the country did not have adequate Psychiatric hospitals and professionals.
“Look at the number of mad persons in the Northern Region, but we the Psychiatric professionals are only four. Currently, we have over 2,000 psychiatric patients under our care which we visit regularly for treatment in their own communities because we don’t have a place for them.”
The Administrator of YICC, Miss Mohammed Mischela, noted that the organization was also out to empower the youth with employable skills, assist the needy in the streets, sensitizing the community leaders on the importance of the youth, provide funds for the youth to establish their own small scale businesses.
YICC is also into counseling and assisting students on how to answer questions and choosing subjects, she added.