Mental Health Society of Ghana has trained 21 mental health nurses and volunteers in Ga West and Ledzekuku municipalities on trauma and organised violence.
The training done in collaboration with BasicNeeds Ghana and Dignity Institute Against Torture, was organized in separate sessions on 26th and 27th August 2020 in the two municipalities, shared knowledge with psychiatric nurses and volunteers on how to improve Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services (MHPSS).
It also introduced to the psychiatric workers, various sets of data collection tools, which they would employ in hospitals and communities to elicit information from survivors of torture and organized violence.
Mr Humphrey Kofie, Executive Secretary of Mental Health Society of Ghana (MEHSOG), who welcomed participants at each workshop, entreated them to pay attention to details as he highlighted the importance of appreciating the issues around trauma and organized violence and torture.
The workshop was part of a project titled: “Strengthening access to timely and quality rehabilitation to survivors of Torture and Organised Violence (TOV) in Ghana.”
It is being implemented by Dignity – The Danish Institute against Torture, based in Denmark, BasicNeeds and MEHSOG, with technical support from the Ministry of Health.
The training sought to improve the understanding of psychiatric nurses and volunteers on torture, organized violence, psychological trauma, symptoms and signs of psychological trauma among others.
It was pivoted on models that included community mental health; capacity building, sustainable livelihoods, policy and research and collaboration.
BasicNeeds and MEHSOG had provided and facilitated a variety of interventions to support people with mental health disorders in Ghana.
Some of the supports included training of volunteers in mental health and development, increasing access to community-based mental healthcare and establishing and maintaining peer support groups.
Others were building capacities of people with lived experience of mental health disabilities to undertake livelihood activities, advocating for and with people with mental illness as well as documenting and sharing the lessons of what works or doesn’t work in order to drive policy change in Ghana.
BasicNeeds and MEHSOG work to strengthen existing mental health referral systems working in collaboration with stakeholders in Ghana’s mental health space.
“It is relevant to point out that both organizations train stakeholders and other professionals and collaborate with and train religious leaders and professionals,” Mr Kofie said.
Mr Kofie noted that people within communities may or may not be challenged with mental health disorders, yet reacting mentally, physically and socially because of severe maltreatment or Trauma and Organised Violence or having endured severe physical and emotional pain.
Participants at both workshops expressed ample satisfaction about the training, saying, “It provided us basic knowledge and skills necessary for identification and treatment of Trauma and Organised Violence patients in need of immediate support.”
Mr Kofie cautioned the prospective data collection agents to resist the temptation of getting on with the job immediately after the training.
He said, “Even though data collectors will be rewarded for the assignment and based on monthly submissions, there are systems in place to identify shoddy work or when the assignment lacks integrity.”
“Any such infraction or deviation from the norm will attract severe and immediate sanctions.”
He advised them to identify prospective respondents by visiting homes, networking with assembly members and Unit Committee members.