The MindFreedom Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has inaugurated a community support network for persons with mental disabilities and their caregivers at Zorko-Kodorogo in the Bongo District, Upper East Region.
The network, which involves mental health nurses, Assembly members, social welfare officers and some community members is intended to bring persons with mental health conditions and their caregivers together to solicit support and other services to enable them live normal lives.
Mr Dan Taylor, the Executive Secretary of MindFreedom Ghana, at a stakeholder engagement, said it was expected that the members of the network would meet periodically to decide the kind of support they would need.
He said there were some people with mental health conditions who could not manage themselves,
“We have some form of budgetary support for them, so once they get going and they let us know the kind of support they need, we will then make provisions for them,” he said.
He said the one year project, dubbed: “Provision of COVID-19 information and services for persons with mental health conditions and their caregivers,” started in April 2022 and was expected to end in March 2023 with funding support from the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in the United States.
Mr Taylor said the country was zoned into three for the purpose of the project; the southern, the middle and the northern zones, “We have chosen the Zorko-Kodorogo community in the Upper East to establish the community support network.”
He said a similar community support network would be inaugurated in Northern Region and indicated that the NGO had already inaugurated the one at the middle zone and would proceed to inaugurate same in Greater Accra and the Eastern Regions.
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.
“That is not the reality, we want this kind of education to go down for people to appreciate that mental health conditions are just like any other health conditions that are treatable and manageable,” Mr Taylor said.
Mr Edem Quarshie Ameglah, the Upper East Regional Mental Health Coordinator commended the NGO for the initiative to implement the project in the Zorko-Kodorogo community, and urged officials and beneficiaries of the project to ensure it achieved its intended purpose.
He said it was implemented in only the Upper East and Northern Regions in the Northern zone, and was hopeful that based on the successes of the project after the one-year period, it would be scaled-up to benefit the remaining three Regions in the North.
Naba Adindaa Awamyelum, the Chief of Zorko-Kodorogo said the support network had come at a time when most of the youth in the community were into alcoholism and other acts of drug abuse.
He said “It has come at the right time, and I believe that with the support of all on board, we will be able to minimise the rate of mental health conditions in my community.”
“I expect that parents and other stakeholders who are part of the network would educate the youth on mental illness to dispel the myths around it, and also intensify mental health education in the community,” Naba Awamyelum.