Established in 2002, Voice Ghana’s mission is to improve, through capacity development and partnerships with all actors, the lives of people living with disabilities at the grassroots to take charge of their lives, and achieve their potential. The special focus of the organisation is on people with disabilities who have no or limited access to education (perhaps because of their gender), live in remote areas, and/or are extremely poor.
A recent study showed that 41 per cent of the population of Ghana experienced some form of psychological distress and in the Volta Region where Voice Ghana works, there are very limited mental health services to meet the needs of people living with mental illness. Under the mentorship of BasicNeeds Ghana, Voice Ghana is now being trained in the BasicNeeds Model for Mental Health and Development and is starting to implement a three-year project under a social franchise agreement with BasicNeeds UK. The project will be implemented in sixteen selected districts in the Volta Region and other parts of Northern, Ashanti and Greater Accra regions in Ghana, and is expected to reach 3,000 beneficiaries.
A baseline study is first being conducted to assess the mental health situation in the selected districts before implementation begins. This will be followed by identification and mobilisation of people with mental illness and epilepsy for treatment services within their communities, and establishment of peer support groups of people with mental illness or epilepsy and their carers.
Francis Asong, Director of Voice Ghana comments, “There are still huge numbers of mentally ill patients who need support and care in our society. Some just need a little support and care to enable them be stabilised. We at Voice Ghana see this project with BasicNeeds as timely to help restore hope to people with mental illness in the target communities. I would like to add my voice to others in calling on the Government to make adequate provision of human and financial resources for the Mental Health Authority and the Mental Health Unit of Ghana Health Service to help put up the necessary infrastructure in place and the training of more manpower in the mental health sector to help address mental health issues in the country.”