NHIS Cuts Support For Mental Health Patients

The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has served notice it will no longer cover medical bills for mental health cases that take a long time to heal and manage.
Principal Nurse in-charge of the Mental Health Unit at the Upper East Regional Hospital, Clement Ayamga, made this known on the World Mental Health Day 2019 celebration, following a notice by the scheme.

According to him, “this means that the NHIS will only pay for the initial cost of treatment after the diagnosis and some few months.”
He added that “for example, if the treatment is going to last for a year or more, the client or family members will have to bare cost of the treatment. This is unfortunately, because many clients will suffer and may relapse.” 

Mr. Ayamga said different people with mental health care needs come to the unit for medical care and counselling.
However, he noted, many of the clients were those from poor backgrounds.

“If poverty were a cause for mental health, many people would have fallen victims. However, it is a fact that poverty has only contributed in aggravating the cases. We wish to call on families to support their relations who are under-going treatment,” he said.
The Upper East Regional Mental Health Coordinator, Edem Ameglah, called on families and communities to take issues of mental health cases seriously and help in the process towards complete healing and managing affected persons.

He revealed that in 2018, the region recorded a total of 39 attempted suicide cases, noting that many of the cases had some links with mental health challenges and neglect of affected persons.

“Fortunately these cases were addressed through the intervention of mental health officials. Family members, as well as friends and communities can help to address this. If they are neglected, they feel they are not needed and no one cares about them,” he said.

FROM: Ebo Bruce-Quansah, Bolgatanga