NGO seeks quality mental healthcare delivery in Brong-Ahafo
7/16/2012 6:30:16 PM -
Sunyani, July 16, GNA - GNA - One of the earliest views of psychopathology was the belief that evil spirits, demons and ghosts were the causes of mental illness.
To cure mental illness, therefore, meant driving these spirits away through spiritual means.
One treatment of abnormality during these primitive times was the drilling of holes on the skulls of affected individuals to create a space for the spirit to escape and this, according to experts, is known as trephination.
Supernatural explanations given to mental illness have been around for hundreds of years and are still commonly used to explain disease causation in many parts of the world.
In Ghana, it is quite common to hear and read about prayer camps where people suffering from mental illness are chained for weeks in order to rid them of the spirits that possess them.
This is not only unique to churches but can be seen in shrines and among other types of spiritualists. It is also believed that people who accused of being witches might, however, be suffering from mental illness.
While these beliefs seem to be outdated in some cultures, in some parts of the world, especially Africa, including the Brong Ahafo Region in Ghana, these beliefs still persist.
It is in the light of this and a number of other reasons that Mission of Hope Society (MIHOSO), a non-governmental organization, is working in partnership with the BasicNeeds Ghana, with funding from DFID, in organizing training on capacity building for effective and efficient management of the needs of people with mental illness and epilepsy in the Brong-Ahafo Region.
The main objective of the first phase of the six-month training programme is to improve the rights, welfare, safety and health of the mentally deranged in society as a means of enhancing their economic well being.
It is being implemented in 10 municipals and districts assembles namely Tain, Asutifi, Pru, Atebubu/Amantin, Kintampo South and Sene districts as well as Dormaa East, Sunyani, Techiman and Kintampo Municipalities.
The training covers the History of Psychiatry, Introduction of Psychology and Abnormal Psychology, Mental Illness and the Supernatural as well as Psychological theories.
Other topics include Abnormality and Causes of Abnormality, Concept of Normality and Abnormality, Features of Abnormal Mental State and Overview of Causes of Mental Disorder (biological, cultural practice, psychological).
Additionally, the training would cover Gender Violence against People with Mental Illness and Epilepsy and Basic Human Rights of the Mentally Challenged.
Mr. Gabriel Gbiel Benarkuu, Chief Executive Officer of MIHOSO, said since January, 60 nurses consisting of 17 community psychiatric nurses and 43 other general health workers, had benefited from in-service training to empower them to increase mental health service provision in effective and efficient management of the needs of people with mental illness and epilepsy in the communities.
The NGO and its partners have also supported the establishment of 10 community mental health clinics with psychiatric specialists in the implementing districts and municipalities.
Mr. Benarkuu said the project had also given skill training to 597 people with mental disorders and epilepsy to enable them to fend for themselves and their families.
A GNA news feature by Dennis Peprah