MindFreedom Ghana provides funding for six community support networks.

 Koforidua, 27 February, GNA – MindFreedom Ghana has received funding in the amount of $1,583 (GHS19,000) from the National Democratic Institute (NDI) of the United States to support community support networks in six regions of the country.

The project titled "Provision of COVID-19 information and services for persons with mental health conditions and their caregivers" led to the establishment of the community support networks.

Mr. Dan Taylor, Executive Secretary of MindFreedom, made this statement in a statement that was sent to the Ghana News Agency on Monday. In the statement, he said that the financial support came after the Community Support Network in six regions was successful and launched, which was finished in December 2022.

Barekumah in the Ashanti Region's Atwima Nwabigya North District, Bechem in the Ahafo Region's Tano South Municipality, and Kodorogo, Zorko in the Upper East Region's Bongo District are among the community support networks.

Bechem in the Ahafo Region's Tano South Municipality, Kodorogo, Zorko in the Upper East Region's Bongo District, and Barekumah in the Ashanti Region's Atwima Nwabigya North District are the other three.

Mental health professionals, Assembly members, chiefs and queen mothers, religious and opinion leaders, social welfare workers, and community members make up the networks.

Mr. Taylor stated, "They are intended to bring people with mental illnesses and their caregivers together to intensify mental health education and awareness, as well as support for one another through information sharing and other services."

He mentioned a slew of issues that people with mental illnesses and the people who care for them faced in their communities. Some of these issues included a lack of community support for people with mental illnesses, stigmatization of those with mental illnesses, the presence of mental health nurses in the workplace, and inadequate infrastructure.

He also expressed concern about the lack of decent housing, the politicization of social support funds from the Government Disability Fund, and the lack of transportation for people with mental health conditions to get to medical facilities.

He explained that the networks would use the funds to promote COVID-19 vaccination services and counseling and mental health services in the communities.

The year-long project, which was funded by NDI and started in April of last year, is expected to end in March 2023.

Mr. Taylor gave a list of some of the things that were done during that time, like meetings with management from the COVID-19 Sub-Committee on Communication of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI).

He explained, "This is part of our advocacy to integrate and expand COVID-19 vaccination to people with mental illnesses and their caregivers."

As one of the activities, he mentioned a strategy meeting that was held to create an advocacy plan for mental health in the COVID-19 context.

He added, "We conducted a series of workshops on advocacy around COVID-19 and mental health for civil society organizations on a zonal basis throughout the country."

Additionally, COVID-19 and mental health issues were the subject of media engagements on radio and television.

Mr. Taylor went on to say that the project's goal was to make people aware of the difficulties faced by people with psychosocial disabilities, their caregivers, and COVID-19 survivors.

He stated, "It is to advocate for strategies for social inclusion to improve their mental wellbeing and quality of life."

Since its inception 18 years ago, MindFreedom has worked to promote people with mental disabilities' human rights and dignity while also enhancing their mental health and quality of life in Ghana.

With partners like the Mental Health Authority, Ghana Health Service, WHO Ghana, the Christian Health Association of Ghana, and NGOs like the Mental Health Society of Ghana and BasicNeeds Ghana, its methods are based on advocacy, creating awareness, prevention, and research.

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