$150,000 mental health project takes-off in Brong-Ahafo

stethoscopeA two-year project aims to mainstream mental services into the public health system in Ghana, has begun in the Brong-Ahafo Region.

The $150,000 project is being executed by the Brong-Ahafo Network of Non-Governmental Organisations (BANGO) with funding from STAR-Ghana, a multi-donor agency made–up of UKaid (United Kingdom Aid), DANIDA, USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and EU (European Union).

It is expected that 8,000 people with mental health disorders, especially epilepsy, will get access to free treatment, psychiatric counseling and care services in 20 districts in the Brong-Ahafo region by the end of December 2014.

Mr Raphael Godlove Ahenu, Project Coordinator, announced this to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview in Sunyani on Monday.

He noted with concern that only 1,451 people with mental disorders in Brong-Ahafo had access to free treatment, psychiatric counseling and care services in the 20 districts hospitals.

Mr Ahenu expressed concern about all forms of abuse meted on people with mental illness, especially at prayer camps and spiritual centres, which was violation of their rights.

According to records from the Brong-Ahafo Regional Hospital Psychiatric Unit, stigma and discrimination against people with mental health illness were on the increase in the region.

Mr. Ahenu, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Global Media Foundation, enumerated a number of challenges such as lack of mental health facilities and personnel in hospitals affecting quality mental healthcare in the region.

He noted that inadequate knowledge and poor dissemination of the provisions in the Mental Health Law led to stigmatization of people with mental disorders.

Mr Ahenu said the project would train 20 community-based radio stations’ presenters, who would serve as focal persons to advocate the creation of mental health desk at their various stations.

He said the focal persons would also facilitate radio discussions on the mental health law and to reduce all forms of stigmatization and discrimination.

Mr Collins Osei, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of BANGO, announced that under the project, 900,000 youth from the implementing districts would be sensitized to advocate the need for quality mental healthcare services delivery.

Source: GNA

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