An initiative to intensify advocacy on mental health and promote good mental health and well-being has been rolled out in Accra.
It is being led by the Ghana Mental Health Alliance which is comprised of BasicNeeds-Ghana, Mission of Hope for Society Foundation (MIHOSO), Human Rights Advocacy Centre, Mental Health Society of Ghana, among others from seven regions across the country.
The six-month initiative is on the theme “Leaving no one behind: Improving mental health policy and service in Ghana.”
It is aimed at improving mental health policy and service environment, increasing funding for integrated community mental health care at the primary health care level and improving mental health and well-being of poor and vulnerable persons.
At a meeting yesterday, Peter Badimak Yaro, Executive Director of BasicNeeds-Ghana, said the initiative was to sustain the momentum in mental health advocacy in the country and ensure good mental health and well-being through collective civil society actions.
Key activities in the initiative included engage and work with the Mental Health Authority of Ghana and the Ministry of Health to finalise the draft mental health policy and develop a strategic plan to complement the policy in ensuring desired outcomes, he stated.
Additionally, he said, it would also hold a forum of key influencers to increase engagement with target officials to increase access to social protection schemes including the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and District Assembly Disability Common Fund (DADCF) for poor and vulnerable persons affected by mental health conditions.
As part of marking this year’s World Mental Health Day, Mr Yaro indicated that the Alliance would hold media and community-based activities to discuss issues on suicide and mental health.
Nana Abena Korkor Addo, Project Coordinator, Mental Health Society of Ghana, emphasised the need to engage the public on mental health to ensure that individuals understand what constitute mental health and the need for proper healthcare.
She said the society, would celebrate this year’s World Mental Health Day by conscientising the citizenry on mental health and raising awareness on the effect of downplaying mental health challenges.
Programme Coordinator of MIHOSO, Thomas Benarkuu, said, this year’s theme which focuses on suicide was an opportunity to discuss suicide in all aspects of life and highlight the ineffectiveness of some legislations in ensuring effective mental health care services.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS