MindFreedom Ghana, a Mental Health Advocacy organization has set in motion a Community Support Network for persons with mental health conditions and their caregivers at Nsawam in the East Region
The network, which comprises persons with mental health disorders and their caregivers, mental health nurses, Assembly members, social welfare officers, and some community members is meant to bring together to solicit support and other services to enable them to live normal lives.
Addressing participants at the inauguration ceremony on Friday, December 9, 2022, Mr Dan Taylor, Executive Secretary of MindFreedom Ghana, indicated that the event was part of a one-year project christened: ‘Provision of COVID-19 information and services for persons with mental health conditions and their caregivers,’ which started in April 2022 and is expected to end in March 2023 with funding support from the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in the United States.
He added that this is the first time the NDI is supporting Mental Health Advocacy in Ghana.
Mr. Taylor explained to participants that the country was zoned into three for the purpose of the project. They include; the northern, middle, and southern zones.
He told the gathering that a similar community support network had earlier been inaugurated in Northern Region and the middle zone and that it was the turn of the southern zone specifically Nsawam.
The Executive Secretary said education and awareness creation were important components of the project and called on the media to play a critical role to dispel the misconception that mental health conditions were traced to superstition and other negative thoughts.
In a presentation, Ms Wendy Abbey a consultant pointed out that a Community support network assists in improving the quality of life and promotes the inclusion of persons with Mental health conditions and their caregivers.
She said such networks are generally being formed in response to particular issues, adding that they are usually informal in structure with basic rules, regulations, and guidelines to show members how to work effectively together.
She said that such a network has the possibility of joining together to form a federation of groups across a wider area.
Ms Abbey noted that members of the network would meet periodically to decide the kind of support they would need, adding that MindFreedom Ghana has some budgetary support for the Networks, hence some financial provisions would be made for the networks when the need arises.
Mrs Theresa Marfo, Municipal Mental Health Officer at the Nsawam – Adoagyiri Municipality emphasized the need to come together and ensure that issues relative to mental health are given priority.
Oh is apart, the Gonja Chief of the Nsawam, Salifu Yakubu, commended MindFreedom Ghana for bringing such an initiative to the municipality. He pledged that the traditional Authority would do all within its means to ensure the sustainability of the network.