Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC), a mental health Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO)in partnership with Mindfreedom have organised a day’s Community Durbar on Mental Health to sensitise the public on rights of Persons with Mental Disabilities (PMDs) at Yendi.
Funded by Star Ghana, it was also to educate them on integrated mental health care available to PMDs.
The community durbar was part of activities scheduled under the promoting Quality Access to mental health care and Rights of Persons with Mental Disabilities in Traditional Mental Health Centres (TMHCs)in Ghana.
The project aims at improving understanding of practices of TMHCs and their role towards promoting human rights conditions of PMDs at TMHCs.
On declaration purpose of the durbar, Nii Lantey Addico the Co-Director of MindFreedom Ghana indicated that the durbar was organised in four regions, Greater Accra, Eastern Region, Ashanti Region and Northern Region.
HRAC is a not-for-profit, independent, non-partisan research and advocacy organisation set up to protect rights in Ghana.
He announced that the durbar was aimed at raising awareness on stigma and discrimination and to promote the wellbeing and protection of the rights of PMDs.
He reminded them that people with mental health conditions were among the most marginalised and vulnerable groups.
According to him, they were often excluded from main stream social and economic activities and decision making on issues that affected them.
He said they assumed to be lazy, weak, unintelligent, difficult and incapable of making decisions and stated that their human rights were violated and were not provided with opportunity to meet their full potentials.
Nii lantey said it was in this regard that MindFreedom Ghana sought funds from Star Ghana to address the problems.
He said the durbar was also to empower them to reach their goals, liberate them from stigma and discrimination and free to exercise their fundamental human rights and called on all stakeholders and the community to take equal action.
Mr Abass Yakubu, the Yendi Municipal Director of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) during panel discussion on protecting the wellbeing and rights of PMDs said it was not right to chain Mental Health Patients as it was against Act 15 of 1992 constitution, which is on human violation.
He indicated that it was important such mental patients were sent to mental health hospital units for medical treatment instead of chaining them and treating them locally.
Alhaji Sulemana Iddi Alhassan, the Yendi Municipal Director of National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) who chaired the function expressed with concern on the lifestyle of the youth.
He called on the Mental Health Nurses to intensify sensitisation on mental health in the schools, Churches, Mosques, market places among others in the Municipality.
He appealed to the religious to preach about mental health in their places of worship as the theme: “protecting the wellbeing and Rights of Persons with Mental Disabilities” “it could be me, it could be you!!!” was appropriate.
Participants during the questions and answers session appealed to the Ministry of Health to establish Psychiatric Hospital in the other regions especially in Tamale, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to take care of PMDs and pay for their drugs.
They also called for the disbanding of India Hemp Camps in the area to savee more Youth from becoming PWDs.