The medical director of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, Dr Pinaman Appau, has revealed that Ghana loses at least US$5 billion per year to mental health issues.

Speaking to Asaase News, Dr Appau said the challenge is as a result of a lack of attention to the problem in the country.

Her comment comes less than a week after the country joined the rest of the world to mark world mental health day.

Dr Appau is therefore stressing on the need for the government and other stakeholders to invest more in mental health care in Ghana.

“About 41% of the general population in Ghana has one form or the other of some psychological distress. This costs us about 7% of our GDP loss. It means that for Ghana we’re losing this much.”

Dr Appau said the number of mental health cases are now increasing because people are aware of the need to access healthcare.

“Even access to health care, investment is not being made, so the mental health treatment gap globally is quite high; about 75 to 95% – meaning out of every 100 people who need mental healthcare only 25% are getting the care they need. In Ghana, we have 98% treatment gap that means that out of 100 people who need mental healthcare only two of them are getting care, so why are we not investing in mental health care?” Dr Appau said.