The World Health Organization (WHO) is offering a free international course in mental health to some 50,000 Ghanaians who are interested in ending discrimination, abuse in mental health and its related services.
Known as the QualityRights in Mental Health e-training, and its currently online and accessible to anyone living in Ghana. The QualityRights in Mental Health was launched in February 2019 by the Mental Health Authority and its partners with support from the WHO and has since seen thousands of Ghanaians signing up and completing the program. Successful persons have already received free Certificates from the World Health Organization.
The QualityRights e-training aims at training 50,000 people in Ghana who will directly help improve the lives of one million people living with mental health conditions & intellectual disabilities. The e-training will be supplemented by face-to-face capacity building within the limits of available resources, targeting some groups across the country.
The QualityRights e-training platform is available for everyone in Ghana. It is developed into various gamified and interactive formats like videos, audios, pictures, fact sheets, discussion forums, peer learning and coaching allowing users to start and finish the course at their own pace.
The 16-hour course is divided into six modules, namely;
- Understanding human rights
- Promoting human rights in mental health
- Improving mental health and related service environments and promoting community inclusion
- Realizing recovery and the right to health in mental health and related services
- Protecting the right to legal capacity in mental health and related services
- Creating mental health and related services free from coercion, violence and abuse
The course is recognized by the Mental Health Authority under the Ministry of Health in Ghana. It also serves as an opportunity for professional nurses, doctors, psychiatrists, social welfare workers, teachers, security personel who may require it as a Continuing Professional Development (CPD). The course also targets persons with psychosocial, intellectual and cognitive disabilities, families, care partners and other supporters.
The WHO QualityRights Ghana initiative
The human rights violations and poor quality of care and support for people with mental health conditions, psychosocial and intellectual disabilities have been well documented in recent UN, Human Rights Watch and other reports. These violations are occurring in mental health services, in faith-based settings (including prayer camps) as well as in the community more generally.
There is a momentum in Ghana to improve this situation, with the introduction of a new Mental Health Act (2012), the creation of a Mental Health Authority aimed at promoting good quality and humane care through policy and integrated services, as well as activities being carried out by civil society partners to promote and protect the rights of persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities and mental health conditions.
In order to effectively and sustainably promote rights and recovery in all settings and at all levels, however, it is essential to improve knowledge, attitudes, and practices among all mental health and disability stakeholders, including people with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities. To date, however, widescale capacity building remains a major gap in efforts taken at the national level.
It is for this reason the QualityRights in Mental Health initiative is happening in Ghana, under the courtesy of the Mental Health Authority and its partners with support from the WHO. It is expected to run for 3 years.
At the end of the three-year programme, QualityRights is expected to have fostered the provision of holistic services that comply with recovery principles and international human rights standards. The initiative is also expected to help transform community attitudes towards people with mental health conditions and such people will begin experienced better health outcomes and respect for their rights in all aspects of their lives.