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Chaining of mentally disabled patients rife in Ghana

Story from: CAJ News Africa

mentally disabled patientsFrom RUSSEL ADADEVOH IN Accra, Ghana
ACCRA, (CAJ News) – GHANA has been urged to eliminate the widespread practice of shackling and other abuses against people with psychosocial disabilities.
The call by a coalition of nongovernmental groups has come on the eve of World Mental Health Day.
It is celebrated annually on October 10.
NGOs raised concern at the prevalence of the abuses in Ghana where the United Nations has previously documented cases of shackling, denial of food and water to people with psychosocial disabilities in prayer camps, including children as young as seven.
In July, the Mental Health Authority oversaw the release of more than a dozen people with disabilities who were chained in a prayer camp in the central region.
Activists said the government must ensure adequate funding for mental health services as a crucial step to eliminating the demeaning practice.
“It is high time the government invested in community-based mental health services so people with psychosocial disabilities can get the support they want, instead of ending up in shackles,” said Peter Yaro, executive director of BasicNeeds Ghana.
Julian Eaton, a mental health advisor, said it was time for government to invest in community-based mental health services so people with psychosocial disabilities can get the necessary support.
“People with psychosocial disabilities represent some of the most marginalized and invisible in society and deserve the same dignity and respect as anyone else,” she said.
CAJ News

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