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Ghana Seeks to End Chaining of 'Mad' People

  • Published: 2017-10-23 : Author: Modern Ghana : Contact:
  • Synopsis: It is time for the Ghana government to invest in mental health services, so people with psychosocial disabilities can get support, instead of ending up in shackles.

Making the announcement during the commemoration of Mental Health Day, the head of the MHA stated that "the country's ban on shackling - is in place since 2012 - will finally be properly enforced."

Citing an example, he mentioned that the MHA oversaw the release of more than a dozen people with disabilities who were chained in Nyakumasi Prayer Camp in the Central Region in July this year.

Peter Yaro, Executive Director of BasicNeeds, a mental health non-governmental organisation, in a statement to mark the day disclosed that "people in Ghana resort to shackling people with psychosocial disabilities because they see no alternatives."

"It's now been five years since the passage of the Mental Health Act and it is high time for the government to invest in community-based mental health services, so people with psychosocial disabilities can get the support they want, instead of ending up in shackles," Peter Yaro said.

The issue with mental disabilities in Ghana is highly prevalent.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately three percent of Ghana's 28.2 million people suffer severe mental disorders, and 10 percent suffer from mild to moderate mental disorders.

These mild disorders include anxiety disorders and depression, two very curable cases.

In Ghana, mental health conditions are perceived to have a spiritual basis, thus, sending many individuals to prayer camps and other faith-based healing options to get treated, yet studies show that the prayer camps are laden with ill-treatment and degrading living conditions for the mentally ill.

The Coalition on Non-Governmental Organisations in Mental Health, adding their voice, demanded that people with mental health conditions in Ghana should no longer be subjected to inhumane treatment.

Instead, they suggested to government to ensure that people with psycho-social disabilities are treated with dignity and be made to live full and independent lives. They called for more programmes to combat the stigma associated with mental health, especially at workplaces.

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