‘Include persons with mild mental health conditions in Disability Fund’

Project Officer at the Centre for People’s Empowerment and Rights Initiative (CPRI), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) at Wa in the Upper West Region, Mr Dominic Wunigura, has appealed to municipal and district assemblies to make deliberate efforts to include persons with mild mental health conditions in the disbursement of the disability fund by the assemblies.

Mr Wunigura noted with concern the low involvement of mental health patients in accessing the fund, and said it was due to the lack of awareness about the fund and the capacity deficiencies to apply.

“People normally consider the vagrant the moment mental health conditions are mentioned, but those people are just few; there are a lot more people with mild mental health conditions at home. We have degrees of mental health conditions; the mild ones and those with moderate psychological problems who can put the fund to good use,” he said.

The Project Officer, who made the appeal during an interaction with the managers of the fund at the Wa Municipal Assembly, stated that persons with mental health conditions were also disabled and needed support to be able to purchase their drugs.

The meeting on Monday formed part of a social and behavioural change campaign by the CPRI under a project dubbed “Ghana Somubi Dwumadie” aimed at restoring the dignity of persons with mental health conditions in Ghana.

The project, which was at the instance of the Basic Needs Ghana and its donor partners, sought to sensitise people on the use of positive language for persons living with disability, particularly mental health patients, and to also enhance their livelihood through increased access to social services.

“We have put these persons into self-help groups and per interaction with them, they have never benefitted from the fund: a few of them stated, however, that they tried applying for the fund but were discouraged when the other persons with physical disabilities passed comments to suggest that they were not a part of them and did not qualify for such interventions,” he said.

He stated that reasons that accounted for the low patronage among persons with mental health conditions included limited awareness about the fund, capacity gaps and low literacy rates among the group.

For his part, the Wa Municipal Coordinating Director, Madam Fati Koray, confirmed the low participation of persons living with mental health conditions in the loan application, and assured that the assembly would consider the application if it was tendered in for the fund.

Similar meetings were held in the Daffiama Bussie Issa District, as well as the Lawra and Nandom municipalities respectively.

FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, WA

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