Pastors train in mental health care
4/23/2012 6:07:58 PM -
Penkwase (B/A), April 23, GNA - Forty pastors including three females, were on Friday awarded certificates in mental health training and called upon to educate their church members on the management of mental health cases.
Mr. William Saawil Sopiimeh, Chief Health Educator of Ghana Health Services who made the call also asked them to advocate the fundamental human rights of persons with mental problems.
'These people who are sometimes handled badly as a result of their status, are human beings like us and as you have acquired this knowledge, I entreat you all to advocate their fundamental human rights', he said.
Mr. Sopiimeh was speaking at the graduation of the pastors drawn from various churches in Brong Ahafo after a five-month training workshop in clinical psychotherapy and counselling (pastoral perspective), facilitated by Pro-healthcare, a non-governmental organisation at Penkwase in Sunyani.
The chief health educator stated that 'by accepting and treating them as human beings it will psychologically heal them, as well as manage the increasing number of mental health cases in our society'.
Mr Sopiimeh urged the pastors to be worthy ambassadors in the sensitization and education of the people on the barbaric treatment meted out to people with mental cases to help curb the menace in Ghana.
The Reverend Father Peter Gyabaah, director of Prohealth-care, who is a clinical psychiatrist and a lecturer at Kintampo Psychological clinical center later explained to the Ghana News Agency in an interview that since pastors commanded respect in society there was the need to equip them with knowledge in the education and management of mental health cases.
He said the pastors were drawn from churches including the Methodist Church of Ghana, Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Church of Pentecost, Anglican, Assemblies of God, Temple of Praise and Divine Yard Ministry.
They were trained in mental health courses as the concept of nature, the mind-body relationship, integrating spiritual and psychotherapy in pastoral counselling, psychological perspective of psychopathology, personality disorder and treatment to help detect such illness early for quick intervention.
Other topics were: supportive counselling, first aid in handling mental illness, dream analysis and interpretations, family therapy counselling, spiritual directions versus psychological counselling, counsel skills and techniques, pastor-client relationship, crisis interventions and management, as well as the phobia of mental health.
Rev. Father Gyabaah urged the pastors not to relent on what they had acquired but to put it into practice to help 'our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children who are being tortured at various psychiatric and church centers'.
He called on all stake holders to join in the campaign and contribute in cash or in kind to help the NGO to achieve its intended goals in mental health service delivery.