Mr Eben Akonnor Fianko, the Founder of Care and Action for Mental Health in Africa (CAMHA), has advised the public to embrace and support persons with mental health problems instead of segregating them to their fate.
He said mental health patients had so many potentials and it was time the citizenry acknowledged, encouraged and embraced them for their talents to be unearthed.
“It is not their fault that they are in this situation. We need to encourage them in areas that will help boost their morale and skills,” Mr Akonnor Fianko gave the advice at the launch of football and volley tournament among Accra, Pantang and Ankaful Psychiatric Hospitals in Accra.
He said activities like football and volleyball engagement infused in the lifestyle of patients with mental health problems would help bring hope and social integration for them to be physically fit.
“Most of their drugs make them gain more weight, so engaging in games like these will help them to burn some calories as well as keep them strong, “he said.
Mr Akonnor Fianko therefore urged the inmates of the Pantang Psychiatric Hospital to take the exercise seriously, partake extensively and have fun as well as exercise.
“Get prepared, exercise regularly and play to win the trophy,” he advised.
He also encouraged mental health workers to help the patients to appreciate sports for their wellbeing.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), MrAkonnor Fianko explained that the annual competition which is slated for October would be used to mark this year’s World Mental Health Week.
He told the GNA that the three Psychiatric Hospitals would compete in the various sporting activities and honour the winning team with a trophy.
Ms Christiana Reynolds, the Deputy Director of Nursing Services, Pantang Psychiatric Hospital, expressed happiness about the initiative and thanked CAMHA for thinking about the physical wellbeing of inmates at the facility.
She urged the patients to participate effectively in order to win the trophy in October.
There was a curtain raiser match between officials of Blue Skies and staff and inmates Pantang Psychiatric Hospital.
CAMHA is a non-governmental organisation aimed at improving and supporting mental health care in Ghana and Africa.
It also aims at providing training in continuous professional development for nurses, mental health professionals, and mental health care service users.