Kleptomania cases rising, the Willingway Foundation has said.
Cases of Kleptomania also known as compulsive stealing is reportedly increasing in Ghana.
Many with this mental disorder are believed to have been wrongfully jailed due to ignorance on the part of the Police and Judges.
Kleptomania, or compulsive stealing, is a a mental disorder which forces persons to steal everything they see especially less valuable items.
Persons suffering from Kleptomania are unable to resist the urge to steal. In most cases of kleptomania, the person steals items that they don’t really need and are often of little to no value to them therefore end up discarding or selling it at very low prices.
In Ghana, there have been many cases where suspects have been jailed for stealing plantain, Ghc50 worth of mobile phone, and other less valued items. The convicts after serving their jail terms mostly return to commit same offence.
Also, many persons suspected to be suffering from Kleptomania but unknown to the public are often reported in the media beaten for stealing items including ladies panties on dryer, fish, mobile phone credits and other valueless items.
According to the Founder of Willingway Foundation, a Ghana-based non-profit organisation founded in 2011 as a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts and the mentally sick, Madam Lydia Abena Manu, cases of Kleptomania was rising but bemoaned that the Ghana Health Service, the Police, Courts and Ghanaians have not asserted their minds on this mental disorder hence treating such victims as criminals instead of as mentally ill patients.
She said sadly many people suffering from compulsive stealing have been lynched, beaten to pulp or jailed.
She appealed to government to prioritize mental health because it has security implications for the state.
“If you arrest a thief, don’t beat him, don’t lynch him because most of them have mental problems instead report to the Police. I will appeal to government to support organizations in the mental health sector to intensify public education, and rehabilitation of patient because mental health has serious security implications on the country,” she said.
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