Ghana seriously lacks adequate mental and emotional health services. The primary objective of the helpline will be to provide first line support for individuals, families and entities who need assistance in emotional and mental health emergencies.
In a country of about 24 million people, there are currently less than 8 qualified psychiatrists and approximately 10 Clinical Psychologists with the current distribution of services is also poorly skewed in favour of the coastal south. There are many reports of suicides and psychotic illnesses in Ghana but complete lack of capacity within the health-care system to deal with these issues.
The helpline will perform the following main functions: emergency service for patients and family who are in crisis at the moment of the call e.g. suicidal and psychotic patients; provide education and professional information about symptoms of mental illness and sleep disorders; serve as a referral centre and provide a network for psych care professionals.
The long-term goal of the helpline will be to provide 24-hour round the clock service to the general public, and to offer a concrete response to depression and anxiety disorders, substance abuse (drugs and alcohol), unipolar and bipolar disorders, sleep disorders, suicidal attempts, stress management and acute management of psychotic patients.