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Mental health Western Region teachers ‘schooled’ on new mental health act

This act is enacted to improve mental health care in Ghana by among other things, refocusing on how mental health care services are provided

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Western Region teachers schooled on new mental health act play

Western Region teachers schooled on new mental health act

The Western Region Mental Health Subcommittee in a two day capacity building programme has schooled teachers in the region on the new Mental Health Act.

This act is enacted to improve mental health care in Ghana by among other things, refocusing on how mental health care services are provided, and to combat stigma and discrimination against mentally ill people in schools and in the country at large.

Read more: Ghana's safety hanging in the balance

Over 100 school health programme coordinators in the region were taken through the provisions of the act and as stakeholders, how to provide care and support for pupils who are mentally unfit in schools.

“Teachers are in a better position to identify early unusual behaviors in pupils that may lead to unstable mental health conditions. Building their capacity to identify these signs and equip them with the provisions made for those children in the act (ACT 846) will help them take the right steps to seek early treatment for those signs”.

See related: 2.7 million Ghanaians have mental problems — Dr. Akwasi Osei

Western Regional Mental Health Coordinator Charles Kwame Vigbedor told Pulse.com.gh.

Some participants speaking exclusively to Pulse.com.gh expressed their appreciation for the training noting that “I did not know as schools and teachers that we owe it a responsibility not to spread the confidential information on a pupil’s health condition to others, even among ourselves as teachers unreasonably. This we often thought it was a normal thing to do. But after this training, I’ve been equipped with how to handle issues of this nature and to avoid stigmatization and discrimination”.

Others also noted that “this training has been useful to us because, I did not know it was punishable by law to sack pupils from schools on the grounds of their mental health situation. We might have been breaching this law over the years. But this training has equipped me to respect the rights of these children and to collaborate with their parents to seek the right assistance for them”.

See also: Funds for mental health institutions woefully inadequate - Deputy Minister

Mr. Vigbedor, also hinted that more of such sensitization workshops will be carried out for other stakeholders such as institutional managers, health workers, the media among others to drum home the concern that, clearing the streets of mentally ill persons is the collective responsibility of all and sundry.

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