Ghana Web
April 23 2015

Akwasi Osei

Akwasi Osei – Ghana’s Chief Psychiatrist

The chief psychiatrist of the Ghana Health Service has suggested to President John Mahama to undergo psychological checkup due to the stress he is going through as a result of the energy crisis among other issues.

According to Dr. Akwasi Osei, his suggestion does not mean Mahama has a mental disorder, but it will be prudent for the First Gentleman to embark on such an exercise, considering his busy schedule.

“It’s very crucial for the whole country, the government is the executive of the country and the government is made up of people and for every single individual, your mind is the chief executive of your body. Therefore it means the mind of the President is the chief executive of not only his own body but the whole country and that becomes doubly crucial,” Dr. Osei told Kumasi-based Ultimate FM.

“I have no reason to think that he [Mahama] is in a state that requires a checkup per say, but is a general principle that we are giving… the presidency is a lot of stress and you’ll need to de-stress and this is a measure that will help him to de-stress,” the acting Chief Executive of the Mental Health Authority (MHA) told host Prince Minkah.

“Would you want the president to take advantage of it [mental screening]?” Minkah asked.

“It will certainly be important,” Dr. Osei retorted.

He is also of the view that every public officer must undergo mental screening at least once a year.

“My counsel will be that… just as I would encourage them to have regular, clinical or health checkup so, in the same way, they should include psychological checkup in the health checkup. That is very crucial,” Dr. Osei insisted.

He added: “I’m not saying that go and check your heart alone, go and check your kidney and therefore go and check your mind alone, the holistic checkup should include psychological and it should be quite regular. May be the higher you are, the more frequent it should be.”

A study conducted in 2009 showed that 41 percent of Ghanaians had psychological distress. 19 percent representing about 4.75 million of the 25 million population of the distress was moderate to severe; but enough to be considered mental disorder.

Akwasi Osei