MIHOSO International, a human rights and social development organisation is providing livelihood empowerment support to 185 people with mental health problems in Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regions.
The support is to motivate the beneficiaries selected from 85 screening sites (communities) to go into viable economic activities to enable them access medication and enhance their socio-economic livelihoods as well.
They are engaged in mushroom production, hairdressing, livestock production, soap making, bead making, batik and tie and dye and liquid soap production.
According to the NGO, which works to promote the welfare of women and children by ensuring that they accessed social services and protection, the support would make the patients financially sound to be able to carter for their medication, pay for their children’s school fees and provide for their upkeep.
Speaking at a presentation ceremony held at Nkwabeng a suburb of Nkoranza in the Bono East Region, Mr Thomas Benarkuu, the Director of Programmes, MIHOSO International, regretted that people with mental disorders in the three regions were unable to afford three-square meal because of poverty.
He observed that food was very essential to the patients because they tended to eat more when placed on mediation for treatment.
The 185 beneficiaries received start-up kits such as sewing machines, hair dryers and other artisanal tools and equipment, as well as undisclosed sums of money and pigs and goats.
Mr Benarkuu explained that the presentation was in line with a three year project being implemented by the MIHOSO with funding from DFID and UKAid in the three regions.
Titled: “Enhancing Maternal Mental Health of Pregnant Women and Mothers and their Children to release Maternal and Child Health”, the project is being implemented in 18 districts and municipalities in the region, and aimed at improving access to quality and appropriate maternal and child health services to targeted women and their children.
It would also enable especially vulnerable pregnant women and their children to participate in income generating activities, support mental health services users and their care-givers to better organize themselves to advocate quality services.
Mr Benarkuu advised care-givers of the beneficiaries to assist them and ensure that they take their drugs regularly and go for medical review at stipulated intervals to improve on their recovery processes.
He also advised them to take good care of the machines and also ensure that the patients used them for their intended purposes.
Mr George Kwame Osei, Nkoranza South Municipal Mental Health focal person said about 1,088 new mental health cases had been reported at the Nkoranza Health Centre with epilepsy and substance abuse recording high figures.
He explained that many of the cases were also not specified, adding that, peri-natal disorders, schizophrenia and attempted suicides were also recording alarming trends.
Mr Osei said last year, about 16 cases of attempted suicide and 99 cases of epilepsy were reported, but regretted about lack of drugs for patients.
He added that drugs such as olanzapine, carbanazepam, phenobarbitone, chlrorpromazine, rasperidone, fluoxetine, amitriptyline and diazepam were needed urgently to aid the recovery process of patients and appealed to NGOs, and our development partners to support them.