It has been allegedly reported that a mentally challenged woman stoned an unidentified young man to death at Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra today. Although the mad woman has been arrested by the police to be taken to the psychiatric hospital while investigations still proceed, the question that easily pricks one’s mind is how safe are the streets with all the lunatics that freely walk around?
When you walk through Accra and most busy principal streets in Ghana, you are likely to come across either a mad person or one who is slightly mentally challenged freely walking on the streets and posing danger to pedestrians. How do we get the mad or mentally challenged people out of the streets? Are the streets safe to freely walk around?
The Role of the Government
The government which is the highest lawmaking and enforcement agency of the country must be up to the task. Are there laws in Ghana about how to handle mentally challenged people? In 2012, Ghana passed a new Mental Health Act, which aimed to create a new system of mental healthcare in Ghana. The Act includes provisions for the creation of a modern, community-based mental health system and for the protection of the rights of persons with mental disorders. The Act has been endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an example of best practice in mental health legislation. After 10 years of passing this act, Government must do more to empower the health sector and the task force in charge of ensuring that all the mad people are taken off the streets to a treatment center for proper care.
The Role of Families
Family members should not neglect their mentally challenged relatives to suffer ill fate all alone. The family is the immediate group of people to provide support and care for their relative. Unfortunately, many people leave their relatives unattended to roam the streets and sometimes, cause havoc to innocent people.
The Fate of the Mentally Challenged
The moment you are being tagged as mad, people do not want to associate with you again. Family and friends who do not have much love, care and concerned will leave you to suffer all alone; hence, many of the mad people take to the streets and the streets become their permanent dwelling place. These unfortunate mad people are at the risk of the harsh weather conditions, at risk of being knocked down by moving vehicles, eating poisonous foods and sometimes, being used by wicked people for ritual purposes.
Are the streets safe?
The streets are certainly not safe until all the mentally challenged people are taken to psychiatric hospitals for medical attention. However, be personally responsible, careful and alert while in public. No place is really that safe. We can have a perfect system but once life is lost, it cannot be restored.