The number of people suffering from mental illness and epilepsy in Northern Region has risen from 4,082 in 2012 to 4,641 in 2013.

Mr Abdulai John Ibrahim, Northern Regional Psychiatry Nurse made this known and said those suffering from mental illness were adults from 18 years and above while those with epilepsy were children.

Mr Ibrahim announced this when members of the Regional Alliance of Mental Health and Development met in Tamale to assess their activities over the past few months and plan further strategies to address issues of mental health in the region.

The Regional Alliance of Mental Health and Development, is a non-governmental organization created by Gub-Katimali Society. It is a group of public agencies and civil society organizations committed to mainstreaming mental health issues into their programmes to address the problem of marginalization affecting mentally ill people.

Mr Ibrahim attributed the causes of mental illness to drug abuse, alcoholism and stress.

He said despite the increasing mental health cases, the Northern Region lacked adequate facilities including inadequate psychotropic drugs and psychiatry nurses to provide care for patients.

He said there were only 17 psychiatry nurses serving all the 26 districts of the region, adding that, some hospitals in the region were also yet to implement the directive to create psychiatry units with at least five beds within their establishments to cater for mental health patients.

He said the region did not have vehicles to transport mental health patients to other health facilities for treatment.

Sheik Yakubu Abdul-Kareem, Executive Director of Gub-Katimali Society called for more commitment from stakeholders to reduce the number of people suffering from mental health. GNA


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