MindFreedom Ghana, a leading mental health advocacy organization has set in motion a project that seeks to improve the mental well-being of persons with psychosocial disabilities and their caregivers in the communities.
The one year project, which is expected to end in February 2023 is supported by Equal Rights in Action Fund of the National Democratic Institute of the United States.
Explaining the concept of the Project at an inception meeting in Accra, the Technical Consultant to the project, Ms Wendy Abbey said the project outcome would ensure among other things the establishment of community counselling support networks on mental health and COVID-19 for caregivers, persons with psychosocial disabilities and survivors of COVID-19.
She pointed out that community and civil society organizations’ involvement in advocacy for mental health in the national response to COVID-19 would be strengthened at the end of the project.
Ms Abbey added that a series of advocacy training workshops on Covid-19 and mental health for civil society organizations would be conducted in three zones in Ghana from July – to August, while a policy brief would be developed to move the discussion on COVID-19 and mental health services in the country to a more comprehensible level.
She called for collaboration with immunisation teams toward the improvement of awareness of caregivers towards addressing disinformation and misinformation on COVID-19 vaccines
In a presentation, Dr Yaw Amankwa Arthur, Deputy Director of Health Promotion at the Mental Health Authority told participants that good mental health improves the health outcomes of persons with communicable and non-communicable diseases.
According to him, while there is a myriad of approaches to dealing with health and mental health problems, integrating mental health information and services into community-based immunization programmes could be another strategic way of demonstrating acceptance of this group.
Ms Charlotte E. Okae, an Expanded Programme in Immunisation (EPI) Officer, Ghana Health Service (GHS), said it was the vision of GHS to vaccinate all the eligible population and reach herd immunity within the shortest possible time.
However, she noted the possibility of the vision was to have the support of all stakeholders.
“To ensure successful coverage, there is the need to enter the districts through communication, advocacy and social mobilisation strategy.
“COVID vaccinations should be ensured as well as the routine ongoing campaign to reach all our targets,” she said.
On his part, Mr Dan Taylor, Executive Secretary of MindFreedom Ghana, took participants through the works of the organization over the years, emphasizing that its 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.
Mr Taylor encouraged participants to carry the learnings from the meeting to their respective organizations and endeavour to give priority to issues relative to mental health at any given opportunity.