Provide Adequate Funding For Mental Health Services – Coalition Tells Gov’t
A Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations have urged government to ensure adequate funding for mental health services.
This according to NGO will go a long way to eliminate the widespread practice of shackling and other abuses against people with psychosocial disabilities.
The Coalition called on the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, to set up a levy to support Ghana’s mental health services as required by the country’s mental health Act 2012.
The coalition included; Basic Needs Ghana, Mind Freedom Ghana, Mental Health Society of Ghana, Law and Development Associates, Human Rights Advocacy Centre, Christian Health Association of Ghana, Human Rights Watch, CBM, Disability Rights Advocacy Fund, Antitorture Initiative and Former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez.
Peter Yaro, Executive Director of Basic Needs was quoted in a statement issued after a press briefing on Monday 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,” Yaro said.
The Mental Health Act of 2012 lays out the legislative framework for a levy, and says the Finance Minister should set up the resource to fund mental health services through parliament.
The levy has yet to be established in Ghana has made progress in safeguarding the rights of people with disabilities, following reports by Human Rights Watch, local non-governmental organisations like Basic Needs Ghana among other several others and the former United Nations special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez.
In July, the Mental Health Authority oversaw the release of more than a dozen people with disabilities who were chained in Nyakumasi Prayer Camp in the Central Region.
With pressure from local and international groups, the Mental Health Authority, has taken steps to enforce a ban on shackling, but disability rights campaigners say much more needs to be done.