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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Status of Mental Health Care in Ghana, West Africa and Signs of Progress in the Greater Accra Region


Mental health care is becoming a critical international concern, but developing countries are still straining to attend to the mental health needs of their suffering and stigmatized citizens. This study assessed the situation of mental health care in Ghana, an Anglophone democratic republic in West Africa. For four months, interviews and secondary data were conducted and collected in the Greater Accra Region to gain information on the available mental health services, the condition of psychiatric hospitals, the most common diagnoses, the challenges the mental health system faces, the changes that need to occur, and the progress made thus far. Currently, the few psychiatric hospitals in Ghana are severely congested, the number of mental health professionals is staggeringly low, community and rehabilitative care is non-existent, and the law on mental health has not changed in over thirty years. This is all due to inadequate funding, a longstanding stigma, the low fatality of mental illness, and the government's ambivalence towards mental health. Mental health personnel and NGOs have been involved in increasing the awareness of mental illness and improving the delivery of mental health care, but there are still many changes that need to take place in order to secure the rights of the vulnerable, and provide equal access to mental health treatment for all Ghanaians.

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