A situation analysis of mental health services and legislation in Ghana: challenges for transformation

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African Journal of Psychiatry

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University of Cape Town

Objective: To conduct a situation analysis of the status of mental health care in Ghana and to propose options for scaling up the provision of mental health care. Method: A survey of the existing mental health system in Ghana was conducted using the WHO Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems. Documentary analysis was undertaken of mental health legislation, utilizing the WHO Legislation checklists. Semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with a broad range of mental health stakeholders (n=122) at the national, regional and district levels. Results: There are shortfalls in the provision of mental health care including insufficient numbers of mental health professionals, aging infrastructure, widespread stigma, inadequate funding and an inequitable geographical distribution of services. Conclusion: Community-based services need to be delivered in the primary care setting to provide accessible and humane mental health care. There is an urgent need for legislation reform, to improve mental health care delivery and protect human rights.