The Mental Health Authority has launched a project aimed at promoting the rights of people with psychosocial disabilities or mental health disorders.
Dubbed: ‘QualityRights in Mental Health’, it is a three-year project that is being piloted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in five countries, including Ghana.
As part of the project, the WHO has developed a QualityRights Tool Kit, which is an online e-training programme that enables health professionals, carers and service users gain deep understanding of ways of providing quality health care to people with mental disorders.
The project targets at training, at least, 5,000 people on ways to improve the quality of services and human rights conditions at the in-patient and out-patient departments in mental health facilities.
It also aims to build the capacity of service users, families and health workers to understand mental disabilities and recovery and promote human rights of mental ill patients.
At the launch of the project, the Deputy Minister of Health, Ms Tina Mensah, said the project was a call for all to support in improving the quality of mental health care and social services as well as ensure that people with mental health conditions were able to enjoy human rights.
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“This is so important all around the world. Many people, who have mental health conditions, face terrible challenges in our society and our failure to deal with these challenges continue to define the quality of life that these people are forced to live,” she said.
Mrs Mensah added that stigmatisation and discrimination, for example, stood out conspicuously among the challenges that persons with psychosocial, intellectual and mental health conditions are confronted with and which increasingly was setting them apart and pushing them into isolation.
The WHO Mental Health Policy and Service Development Coordinator based in Geneva, Dr Michelle Funk, said one in every four persons in the world was affected by one form of mental illness or the other.
According to Dr Funk, although treatments were available, nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never sought help from a health professional, adding that stigma, discrimination and neglect prevented people with mental disorders from receiving care and treatment.
The German Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Christoph Retzlaff, said the German government was supporting Ghana with a fund of €150,000 towards the running of the Quality Rights Initiative.
He said mental health was a challenging and neglected area in health care in the country, adding that society was as good as it treated its vulnerable members.
The Social Sector Team Leader with the Department for International Development (DFID), Ms Jemima Duff, applauded Ghana for its efforts to promote the right of people with mental disabilities.
In a welcome address, the Chief Executive of the Mental Health Authority, Dr Akwasi Osei, said the initiative was a WHO response to rampant abuse of the right of people with mental health disorder.
He said it is estimated that out of the 7.7 billion people in the world, 15 per cent live with one form of mental disorder or the other.
In Ghana, he said, about 4.5 million out of the 30 million population lived with a mental or intellectual disorder.