The Amanfro Community Support Network in the Ga South Municipality of the Greater-Accra Region has embarked on a walk to sensitize members of the public on the need to pay attention to their mental health.
The Network is one of other Community Support Networks(CSN) established by MindFreedom Ghana in other parts of the country with the aim to bring persons with mental health conditions and their caregivers together to intensify education and awareness on mental health and support for each other through information sharing and other services.
The health walk was put together by the Amanfro CSN under the auspices of MindFreedom Ghana with funding support from the National Democratic Institute (NDI) of the United States of America. The walk was ably facilitated by the Engleshi Amanfro Polyclinic.
It formed part of a project being implemented by MindFreedom Ghana under the title, ‘Provision of Covid-19 information and services for persons with mental health conditions and their caregivers
The CSN involves mental health professionals, Assembly members, chiefs and queen mothers, opinion and religious leaders, social welfare officers, and community members as stakeholders.
During the procession within the Amanfro neighbourhoods, participants distributed fliers and educative materials that contained some basic information on issues relative to mental health.
Mental Health practitioners who took part in the match used megaphones to address shop keepers and commuters and bystanders at various points on issues bothering mental health and the existence of a mental health unit at the polyclinic where they can always seek medical care.
In an interview with Public Agenda, Mr Dan Taylor, Executive Secretary of MindFreedom Ghana explained that the walk, which took place on Friday, March 24, 2023, was part of activities drawn up by the Amanfro Community Support Network and it was meant to raise awareness in the community about issues of mental health conditions and the need for them to seek treatment as and when the condition is coming up.
My Taylor noted that prior to the health Walk, the CSN has had some life skills training and some counseling sessions to make the Network more efficient.
He pointed out that his outfit has established similar Networks in 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; and Nsawam, Nsawam-Adoagyiri Municipality, Eastern Region.
He said MindFreedom Ghana has given some monies to the various CSNs to aid their activities.
He acknowledged the facilitation support offered by the Engleshi Amanfro Polyclinic and urged the Community to patronize the Mental Health Unit of the polyclinic for treatment when the need arises.
On whether or not the objectives of the health walk have been achieved, Mr. Taylor submitted, “ the objective of the walk has been largely achieved because, at the end of the day, people were curious to really find out what was happening. It is not so common for issues of mental health to come into the public domain because of stigma; but then, once you get out in the community to talk about mental health, people become curious’ so I think it been good so far.”
On her part, Francisca Zurek, a Senior Mental Health Nurse from the Ga South District was delighted that such a sensitization event was held in the community.
She told Public Agenda, “today we took the opportunity to do sensitization on mental illness and where individuals in the community can seek treatment. So far so good; it was very fruitful. People in the community warmly welcomed us and some didn’t even know we existed in the community but from now on, I am sure they will refer a lot of people to the facility for people to be treated.”
She added that “MindFreedom Ghana has been of great help to us because funds went into this activity without them I don’t think we could have done this sensitization to the large extent so thank you MindFreedom Ghana. We pray that more funds would come so that we can achieve the aim of mental illness bringing it to the doorsteps of the individuals in the community.”
She also thanked members of the Network for coming out in their numbers to make the procession a successful one.
By: Mohammed Suleman/ Publicagendagh.com