As it is done yearly, MEMHREP decided this year to have the world Mental Health Day celebration at its premises, Okyerekrom, Aboagye Estate. It was a beautiful scene to behold at the Mensah Mental Health Rehabilitation Project’s Headquarters Aboagye Estate, Okyerekrom in the Ejisu Municipality, Ashanti Region Kumasi. This year’s World Mental Health Day was memorable and won the hearts of the many people who witnessed and took part in it, I for instance. All persons were led to wash their hands with soap under running water with their temperatures checked, recorded and registered accordingly. All these were done adhering to the COVID-19 protocols.
Amidst the COVID 19 global pandemic, this day could not be left out because it was necessary for human sustainability and mental growth. Mental illness is an ancient canker which needs aggressive and consistent education to reduce the rate of increase, hence the need to celebrate this day, thus creating awareness for a better tomorrow. With the help and hard work of our the dedicated and committed volunteers, this day was celebrated. Branch representatives from all five branches came to witness this great event.
The theme, ‘Mental Health for All, Greater Investment – Greater Access’ got more stakeholders involved. They included Madam Lovelace Adu-Gyamfi, a psychiatric expert from the Manhyia Government Hospital, Madam Millicent and Mrs Justina Mwoo, both from the Ejisu Government hospital and Municipality respectively. In fact, their presence alone made the whole celebration a unique one. This was again to remind everyone, especially persons involved in this situation that, Mental illness is just like any other chronic illness which takes time and therefore anyone in such condition has the right to visit any health facility for assistance.
According to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), ‘The world is accepting the concept of universal health coverage. Mental health must be an integral part of UHC. Nobody should be denied access to mental health care because she o he is poor or lives in a remote place’.
The commemoration of this day wasn’t just for the fun of it but was meant to highlight how mental health could be easily accessible to all without any hindrance or stigmatization. MEMHREP went to its length to bring its service users to mark this day. The celebration of this day was a dialogue, a means to sensitize against stigma and create room for strong hope and swift recovery. Service Users (Mentally Ill Persons) with their family members came in turns and experts in the various aspects spoke to give them hope and to encourage them. As a sign of appreciation, the Service Users gave out their testimonies and how important it is for the government, businesses and individual to support the Community Mental Health Outreach Programme, from which they are given a better standard of living. In addition, they appealed for support from this same group, adding that, in order to prevent a relapse of their previous condition, they need employable skills (a resettlement programme) initiated by MEMHREP – GH. They humbly requested for sewing machines, wall dryers, refrigerators and others to help them lead a better live void of mental illness. They were fed and medicated at the office as a show and exhibition of hope and strength.
Mrs. Esther Apraku, Director of Social Welfare for the Kumasi Metropolis, the chairperson: said ‘“You are a normal person just like everyone. Don’t be discouraged. You are important to the government” she encouraged them’.
The education didn’t just end at the office premises. It continued to the Femesua Taxi Station where passersby and other persons where enlightened on the need to remain mentally healthy. They were given hand sanitizers and nose mask to remind them that we were not completely free from the grasp of COVID 19 Global Crisis.
Over the past years MEMHREP – GH has embarked on series of activities and programmes to save and shape lives of persons living with mental illness. Its recent programme was a collaboration with the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, in the lockdown down period, where it reached out to thousands of persons living with mental illness neglected and abandoned on the streets of Kumasi to fend for themselves. This kind and benevolent gesture touched the hearts of many who support MEMHREP to continue its good cause.
MEMHREP is leaving no puzzle unsolved to end the distress of persons living with mental illness and thus the appeal and call for support. MEMHREP believes that a permanent resident could speed up the recovery process. An Ultra-Modern Rehabilitation Centre is ongoing on a 2-acre piece of land at Asokore in the Sekyere East District, Ashanti. This will serve a safe haven to accommodate, rehabilitate and help in their reintegration process.
However, this cause will only be realized now if the government, businesses and individuals lend a helping hand to assist.
Yes, we can, but with you, we have
Please visit: http:/ www.memhrep.org
In Ghana, please you may send your donations to MTN MOMO A/C 0240838893 MEMHREP
You may also call us on 0248762692 for further support on all mental illness-related cases.
Mental health for one…… Mental health for all
Mental illness is no respecter of persons so let’s all be part of this
MS. PORTIA AIDOO
KUMASI – GHANA