Target: President Dramani Mahama
Goal: Demand government monitor mental health facilities for inhumane practices
With a new government in place, Ghana should ensure that mental health facilities are closely monitored for inhumane practices. The country has a history of abusing those with mental disabilities, with some cases leading to the death of the patient. This treatment needs to stop immediately, as it does nothing to help mentally ill patients and violates human rights.
A United Nations report speaks of the inhumane and grim conditions inflicted upon Ghanaians who are mentally ill. These patients are detained in psychiatric hospitals and spiritual healing centers called “prayer camps.” In these camps, patients are denied food or water and shackled to trees or posts. Juan Mendez, who wrote the report, claimed that he saw patients as young as seven in these camps. And unfortunately those who run these camps have little to no knowledge of mental illness and force herbal concoctions upon their patients.
In the psychiatric hospitals, patients are detained in unsanitary conditions, where they are forced to receive treatment, whether it be by injections or electric shocks. It’s been reported that many of the nurses and doctors at such facilities don’t have the necessary training to provide care to their mentally ill patients. One such hospital even stacked dead patients in a room.
In November 2013, Ghana’s Mental Health Authorities was inaugurated, and its members are responsible for monitoring mental health facilities in the nation. But the newly-appointed authorities have yet to begin the process of monitoring facilities, and there is concern that the organization is excluding members that belong to nongovernmental organizations; the participation of members belonging to nongovernmental organization is a requirement under the Mental Health Act. Sign this petition and urge the government to begin monitoring mental facilities for inhumane practices so patients can begin to recover.
Dear President Dramani Mahama,
I am writing this letter to express my deep concern toward the mentally ill in your country. It has come to my attention that treatment for the mentally ill is severely lacking and such treatments are deemed inhumane and cruel. I demand that your government immediately begin monitoring mental health institutions for barbaric practices so patients can begin recovering.
I understand that Ghana views the mentally ill as an evil omen, that a mental illness is a spirit possessing the body. This way of thinking is false and only harms patients. A mental illness can be treated and the patient can live a full and healthy life. Shackling, depriving the patient of food and water, or shocking them does nothing to help. Again I implore your government to change both your practices and views on this matter. Patients deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: KirkSims via Wikimedia