The Ghanaian-German Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration (GGC), has held a conference to mark World Mental Health Day with a call on Ghanaians to normalise conversations on mental health.
In his opening remarks at the conference held on 12 October 2021 in Accra, Senior National Programme Coordinator for Programme Migration for Development, David Yawo-Mensah Tetteh said “we know that mental health is a seldom-discussed topic in Ghanaian culture. It makes people uncomfortable. When mental illness is talked about, the conversation is lacking in ways that raise awareness, foster advocacy, and lead to meaningful change. We call on you normalize the conversations on mental health – the shame with which we discuss mental health discourages people from opening and freely discussing their issues.”
He added that presently, the Centre is currently working on building the capacity of its key partners and community/opinion leaders to enable them to provide mental health support to its clients who are referred be able to provider mental health support to clients who are referred as well as community/opinion leaders.”
The Head of Department of Psychiatry of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Prof. Angela Ofori -Atta, in her keynote address advocated for migrants to be registered upon their return, introduce psychological interventions that will yield results for migrants such as cognitive behavioural intervention. She also added that migration and mental health desks be created for all the offices of the District Assemblies across the country.
The mental health conference brought together relevant stakeholders in the mental health space in Ghana to discuss the theme “Mental Health in an Unequal World” and other topics, including domestic and intimate partner violence; managing mental health daily; mental health services for returning migrants, and other initiatives to improve awareness on mental health; managing depression, avoiding suicide, and building resilience. Some returned migrants shared their stories on how they managed their mental health.
The Ghanaian-German Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in collaboration with the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR).