Koforidua, Feb. 27, GNA – MindFreedom Ghana has presented US$1,583 (GHS19,000) in funding from the National Democratic Institute (NDI) of the United States of America to assist community support networks in six regions of the country.
The community support networks were established under the project titled “Provision of COVID-19 information and services for persons with mental health conditions and their caregivers.”
Mr Dan Taylor, Executive Secretary of MindFreedom, who said this in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency on Monday, said the financial assistance came on the heels of the successful establishment and inauguration of the Community Support Network in six regions, which was completed in December 2022.
The community support networks include Barekumah in the Ashanti Region’s Atwima Nwabigya North District, Bechem in the Ahafo Region’s Tano South Municipality, and Kodorogo, Zorko in the Upper East Region’s Bongo District.
The others are Barekumah in the Ashanti Region’s Atwima Nwabigya North District, Bechem in the Ahafo Region’s Tano South Municipality, and Kodorogo, Zorko in the Upper East Region’s Bongo District.
The networks are made up of mental health professionals, Assembly members, chiefs and queen mothers, opinion and religious leaders, social welfare officers, and community members.
“They are intended to bring together people with mental illnesses and their caregivers to ramp up mental health education and awareness, as well as support for one another through information sharing and other services,” Mr. Taylor said.
He cited a slew of challenges that people with mental illnesses and their caregivers faced in their communities, such as a lack of community support for people with mental illnesses, stigmatization of people with mental illnesses, mental health nurses in the workplace, and poor infrastructure.
He also mentioned the lack of decent accommodation, an inability to access social support funds from the Government Disability Fund due to politicization, and a lack of transportation for people with mental health conditions to visit health facilities as some of the concerns.
He explained that the funds received by the networks would be used to promote counseling and mental health services, as well as COVID-19 vaccination services, in the communities.
The NDI-funded year-long project, which began in April of last year, is expected to conclude in March 2023.
Mr. Taylor listed some activities carried out during the period, such as meetings with management of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) Technical Working Group COVID-19 Sub-Committee on Communication.
“This is part of our advocacy to have the EPI integrate and expand COVID-19 vaccination to people with mental illnesses and their caregivers,” he explained.
He mentioned a strategy meeting that was held to develop an advocacy plan on mental health in the context of COVID-19 as part of the activities.
“We conducted a series of workshops on a zonal basis throughout the country for civil society organizations on advocacy around COVID-19 and mental health,” he added.
There were also media engagements on radio and TV focusing on COVID-19 and mental health issues.
Mr. Taylor further explained that the project’s goal was to raise awareness about the plight of people with psychosocial disabilities, their caregivers, and people who have recovered from COVID-19.
“It is to advocate for social inclusion strategies to improve their mental wellbeing and quality of life,” he said.
MindFreedom, which was founded 18 years ago, aims to improve the mental health and lives of people with mental disabilities in Ghana, as well as to promote their human rights and dignity.
Its methods are based on advocacy, awareness creation, prevention, and research, with partners, including the Mental Health Authority, Ghana Health Service, WHO Ghana, the Christian Health Association of Ghana, and NGOs such as the Mental Health Society of Ghana, and BasicNeeds Ghana.
Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).