As the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights approaches on December 10, 2023, Human Rights Watch (HRW) calls upon the Ghanaian government to prioritize rights-based mental health services and provide adequate support for housing, independent living, and job training for individuals with mental health conditions.
In a poignant short film produced by HRW, three individuals with mental health conditions, formerly incarcerated, emphasize the crucial role of freedom and independence in their treatment.
The HRW investigation reveals that due to the prevalent belief that mental health conditions stem from curses or evil spirits, families often resort to seeking help from faith-based or traditional healers. This is compounded by the scarcity of mental health services in their communities. According to the Ghana Mental Health Authority, there are over 5,000 “prayer camps” and traditional healing centers nationwide. The existing psychiatric facilities face challenges of being understaffed, dilapidated, and still employing forced treatment.
As part of the commemoration of human rights milestones, HRW underscores the imperative for Ghana to address the gaps in mental health services, ensuring that individuals with mental health conditions receive the support and care they need for a dignified and independent life.