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W/R: Mentally derailed persons harass residents

Mentally challenged
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Reports gathered by Connect FM indicate that the streets of Tarkoradi, the Western Region capital, are not safe for users anymore, as persons suspected to be mentally derailed have reportedly been harassing residents.

The latest of such reports is an alleged attack on a worker at the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) Wednesday evening.

According to an eyewitness, who narrated the incident to Paa Kwesi Simpson on the Connect FM’s morning show, the assaulted woman nearly lost her eyes as the mentally derailed man pounced on her trying to stick his fingers in her eyes.

The eyewitness said the incident happened when the lady was returning home from work.

About a week ago, 3news.com reported how a resident at Nkroful, also in the Region, chopped off one hand of a mentally derailed man who had been threatening lives with a machete around the community.

Also, about three months ago, a young woman ran to take refuge at Connect FM’s premises while she was being chased by a mentally derailed person.

Living in fear

These frequent encounters with mentally derailed persons within Sekondi-Takoradi and other nearby communities raised an alarm and residents seem to live in panic.

Dorcas Amidu, a resident in the metropolis, had had similar experience and shared it with Connect FM.

“It was in the morning when I alighted from a vehicle and was going to work then I realized there was this madman giving me a close mark. I panicked so I doubled up my steps then he also started running after me. I hastened to Connect FM’s office to save my life,” she narrated her ordeal.

In reaction, Public Relations Officer for STMA John Laste said the Assembly is challenged in solving the problem.

He explained that psychiatric hospitals largely do not admit mentally derailed persons without a relative accompanying them.

“The Assembly finds it challenging to identify family members of these lunatics and that is serious because psychiatric hospitals don’t accept such people without their family member(s),” he said.

Auntie Abiba’s social welfare center 

Currently, the Assembly with the help of the health services and Social Welfare Department is working hand-in-hand with Auntie Abiba, a philanthropist who has been providing welfare to mentally derailed persons for over ten years at Apremdu.

As to whether the Assembly could deploy a taskforce to move the roaming mentally derailed people out of the streets, Mr. Laste said: “It is worth considering” but where to keep them is a challenge, “Auntie Abiba’s facility is already congested”.

But as a temporary measure, the STMA PRO said the Assembly may have resort to other stakeholders and philanthropists to help expand Auntie Abiba’s facility so it can admit a lot more.

Looking into the future, Mr. Laste believes the problem can largely be tackled permanently, should government establish a psychiatric hospital in the Western Region.

He also called on family members who have been contacted by the  Social Welfare Department to show up to come for their relatives who are partially well.

“Family members should own up and approach authorities to come for their relatives who have been treated or still under detention due to mental condition”.

By Loveridge Ampratwum Okyere |3news.com|Ghana

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