A mental health outreach clinic
Mental health in Ghana
For a population of nearly 26 million, Ghana has only 13 practising psychiatrists in public service and one registered private practitioner. There are only three psychiatric hospitals all of which are in the south of the coastal belt of country, with few options for care outside these facilities. Since there are widespread beliefs that mental illness and epilepsy have spiritual causes, many people resort to traditional healers whose treatment methods can sometimes be inhumane.
We began operating in Ghana in 2002 and since then over 128,000 people with mental illness or epilepsy, their carers and family members have been through our programmes.
Our holistic mental health and development services are delivered through:
BasicNeeds-Ghana is an independent organisation that primarily works across Northern Ghana, mid-Ghana and the Southern/Coastal Belt. Since 2002, the lives of over 137,000 people with mental illness or epilepsy, their carers and families have been transformed. BasicNeeds-Ghana and its partners were instrumental in getting the new Mental Health Law (Act 846) passed by the Parliament of Ghana. This law provides an institutional and policy framework for the delivery of community-based mental healthcare across the whole country. The organisation is now working closely with the Ghana Health Service to ensure sustained service delivery through government health systems within this framework.
“The focus of BasicNeeds-Ghana is to deepen our efforts at addressing mental health and poverty of individuals and families affected by mental disorders. We aim to make mental health very much a topical public discourse issue, making it possible for people with mental illness and epilepsy to benefit from development processes and assert their rights.” Peter Yaro, Executive Director of BasicNeeds-Ghana.
Voice Ghana, one of BasicNeeds’ first franchisees in Africa is a NGO managed for and by people with disabilities in Ghana. With funding from Grand Challenges in 2015, Voice Ghana completed training on our model of work and to date has worked with over 1,800 participants living with mental illness and/or epilepsy. The project is to 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 over three years. They are mentored by BasicNeeds-Ghana.
“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.” Francis Asong, Director of Voice Ghana.
Improving maternal mental health in Ghana
As mental health is often absent in maternal health programmes, BasicNeeds launched a new maternal mental health project in Ghana in October 2015 with the support of UK Aid Direct. This project aims to improve maternal health and livelihoods for 15,000 poor or vulnerable women and girls. Read more here.
Empowering people with mental illness and securing their livelihoods
BasicNeeds Ghana is currently supporting people recovering from mental illness and/or epilepsy and their carers in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions of Ghana to gain key livelihood and life skills, creating opportunities for them to reintegrate with their families and communities and reduce the household poverty associated with the burden of mental illness. This project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund (BLF) and the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission (JOAC).
Our impact to date
As of June 2016, 143,316 people including those affected by mental illnesses, their carers and family members have been supported through our programmes in Ghana.
Hse. No. 23, Fuo Residential Area
P.O Box TL1140
Tamale, Northern Region