Latest reports from Ghana’s health sector has revealed that mental health cases are on the ascendancy following the incessant and unplanned power outages the country is currently grappling with.
Whereas some companies have started laying off workers and with many employees living in fear of being sent home as a result of the power crisis, doctor in the mental health field of Ghana’s Health sector say the number of psychological cases being recorded in connection with the ‘dumsor’ is becoming alarming.
Speaking in an interview with Accra-based Joy Fm, Chief Psychiatrist at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, Dr. Akwesi Osei indicated that “this is really stressful because, for example, at home you don’t have power to do what you want to, you are a student studying and the power goes off and you don’t have an alternative… these are really stressful situations and no doubt about it that it does cause mental defects.”
He further indicated that “depression itself is a mental disorder, so is anxiety. Somebody becomes unduly anxious and apprehensive and that comes with all kinds of complications. Now if this continues for some time, it can even manifest physically with you getting hypertension, stomach ulcer, worsening cases of diabetes etc.
“People who are in business suffer more than anybody, students government workers etc… they are all suffering, but business owners are mostly the victims especially small scale businesses.”
The increasing number of mental cases was confirmed by another medical practitioner and a psychologist, Dr. Ann Gaisie who indicated that “we’re not only talking about just a few individuals…. The power outage is all that people are talking about and you realise that they are distressed.
“We’re not only talking about business owners or the casual person walking on the street, we are talking about children and high school students as well.”
She said after one radio interview a few days back, there were “a number of college students googling my name and contacting me telling me they can’t sleep properly and cannot do their work because of the lighting situation.
“So we talking about the majority really and this does cut across a large portion of the population. People are not going home because they’re thinking by the time I get home the light is off and this is breaking marriages and distressing lots of people.
“There are certain things that are very basic and electricity is one of them, we need it, it is no more a want and immediately that is taken from you, you feel powerless you feel like you’ve lost control and that could be quite distressing.”
Ghana is currently going through a very stressful period with regards to inadequate power and the impact is being felt across bored from workplaces to hospitals, schools to factories etc. Government says it is working around the clock to “fix it” but nothing significant has been seen or felt yet.