MindFreedom inaugurates Community Network Support   

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Health Ngo Network
Health Ngo Network

MindFreedom Ghana, a health centered non-governmental organisation has inaugurated a Community Support Network to improve the socio-economic conditions of people with mental health conditions in the Bono and Ahafo Regions.

The composition of the network includes representatives of Ghana Health Service, Traditional Authorities, Department of Social Welfare as well as care-givers and Assembly Members.

Among other objectives, the group seeks to advocate the provision of tailored mental health support to persons with mental health conditions and their care-givers in the two regions.

Mr. Dan Taylor, the Executive Director of MindFreedom Ghana explained the formation of the group was in line with a one-year project, being implemented by his NGO, with funding support from the National Democratic Institute of the United States.

Speaking at a ceremony held at Bechem in the Tano South Municipality of the Ahafo Region, Mr. Taylor expressed disgust at the rising trend of stigmatization and discrimination of people with mental health conditions.

He therefore called for intensified and sustained media campaigns to increase awareness on mental health and immunization and garner community interest to support persons with mental illness and their care-givers to access services.

Mr Taylor said it was therefore imperative for the nation to create appropriate structures so that people with mental health conditions could easily access the necessary attention.

The Ghana Mental Health Policy 2019-2030 promotes the prevention and management of mental health conditions for all persons across the life span.

Mr. Taylor indicated mental health promotion could lead to mental well-being and reduce preventable deaths, indicating that the COVID-19 pandemic had been a major factor which had increased anxieties and depressive conditions.

These had invariably affected persons with mental health conditions and their care-givers, he added.

“Creating general awareness and other forms of outreaches on mental health and mental disabilities will greatly build resilience to enable people cope with the daily stresses of life, promote mental health, self-care and largely improve help-seeking attitudes of the families and communities,” he said.

 “The World Health Organization had speculated that the measures such as self-isolation and quarantine had affected usual activities, routines and livelihoods of people that had led to an increase in loneliness, anxiety, depression, insomnia, harmful alcoholism and drug use and self-harm or suicidal behaviour.”

“These consequently had resulted in an increase of persons living with mental health conditions and psychological challenges. Persons who had recovered from COVID-19 were also highly prone to experiencing severe mental health breakdown”, Mr. Taylor added.

He said due to fear of stigma, such persons often continued to isolate and avoid attending treatment centres for proper care, thus impacting negatively on their recovery and ability to reintegrate into their communities and familial spaces.

Mr. Jonathan Aryee, the Tano South Municipal Mental Health Coordinator, commended the NGO for the support, and assured the network would also work hard to achieve desirable results, and appealed to the Municipal Assembly to also assist in the implementation of their action plan.

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