MindFreedom Ghana, one of Ghana’s foremost Mental Health Organizations has disbursed a total of GHC 19,000 ( US$ 1,583) to support six Community Support Networks (CSN) established under the project titled, ‘Provision of Covid-19 information and services for persons with mental health conditions and their caregivers’.
The project, which spans April 2022 to March 2023, is being implemented by MindFreedom Ghana with funding support from the National Democratic Institute (NDI) of the United States of America.
The financial support followed the successful establishment and inauguration of the Community Support Networks in six regions of the country which were completed in December 2022.
The Networks include Barekumah in the Atwima Nwabigya North District of Ashanti Region; Bechem in the Tano South Municipality, Ahafo Region; Kodorogo, Zorko in the Bongo District, Upper East Region; Tishigu in the Tamale Metropolis, Northern Region; Amanfrom, Ga South Municipality, Greater-Accra Region and Nsawam, Nsawam-Adoagyiri Municipality, Eastern Region.
The Networks, which involve mental health professionals, Assembly members, chiefs and queen mothers, opinion and religious leaders, social welfare officers, and community members as stakeholders, are meant to bring persons with mental health condition and their caregivers together to intensify education and awareness on mental health and support for each other through information sharing and other services.
Thus, the funds received by these Networks, will inter alia support the raising of awareness on counseling and mental health services as well as Covid-19 vaccination services in different communities where they are located.
Mr. Dan Taylor, Executive Secretary of MindFreedom Ghana cited numerous challenges facing persons with mental health conditions and their caregivers in the country and the community as a whole. Some of these challenges include lack of community support for persons with mental health conditions, stigmatization of persons with mental disorders, mental health nurses at workplaces, poor infrastructure, decent accommodation, inability to access social support fund from the Government Disability Fund due to politicization, transportation to visit health facility by persons with mental health conditions and so on.
Some of the activities that had been implemented over the period included;
- Meetings with the management of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) Technical Working Group COVID-19 Sub-Committee on Communication as part of advocacy activities to have the EPI integrate and expand COVID-19 vaccination to persons with mental health conditions and their caregivers.
- Convened strategy meeting to develop an advocacy plan on mental health in the context of COVID-19
- Conducted a series of workshops on a zonal basis throughout the country on advocacy around COVID-19 and mental health for civil society organizations
- Media engagements on radio and TV dwelling on issues of COVID-19 and mental health.
The project aims to raise awareness of the plight of persons with psychosocial disabilities and their caregivers as well as persons who have recovered from COVID-19 and to advocate for social inclusion strategies to improve their mental well-being and quality of life.
Established 18 years ago, MindFreedom Ghana’s vision is to improve the mental health and lives of persons with mental disabilities in Ghana as well as promote their human rights and dignity.
Its activities are based on four core areas, these include; Advocacy, Awareness Creation, Prevention, and Research.
The organisation’s partners among others are the Mental Health Authority, Ghana Health Service, WHO Ghana, Christian Health Association of Ghana, and NGOs such as the Mental Health Society of Ghana, BasicNeeds Ghana, and others.