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MEMHREP takes mental health education to schools

Fri, 11 May 2018 Source: Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang

The Mensah Health Mental Rehabilitation Project (MEMHREP) is gradually establishing itself as one of the vibrant Non-governmental Organisations (NGO) that plays advocacy role in creating awareness on mental health problems. Although, the issue of mental health has not received much attention in the country, MEMHREP wants the issue to be treated as a national disaster due to alarming rate of people suffering from mental health problems.

It is against this backdrop that MEMHREP is leaving no stone unturned in bringing to the fore, the plight of mental health patients with the view to reducing not only the stigmization and discrimination surrounding mental health, but also, to tackle the root causes of the problem. In line with this, MEMHREP, for the past few months, has been visiting some basic schools in the Ashanti Region of Ghana and educating the children on the dangers of drug abuse, use of tramodol and other hard substances which leave the children wayward.

The basic schools visited so far include Wesco Demonstration JHS 'A', and Ejisu Presby JHS and

Ejisu Methodist Preparatory and JHS, where the Team addressed about 3,500 participants. Dubbed "MEMHREP's Schools Mental Health Education Outreach Prigramme", Team MEMHREP took the participants (teachers and students) through the dangers of drug abuse, the effects of Tramadol, the effects of Truancy, indiscipline, "sakawa", premature relationships, symptoms of mental illness, and the need to have compassion with mentally-ill patients on the street. This was done through the showing of videos, lectures by specialists, nurses and pastors. The participants were given the chance to ask questions that bothered their minds on mental health. The head teacher of Wesco Demonstration JHS "A", Mr. Arthur Jones, together with his colleague headteachers could not hide his excitement for the lecture. The Heads, whilst commending Team MEMHREP, simultaneously made passionate appeals to the government, private organisations, religious and traditional authorities and individuals to fund the Mental Health Education project being undertaken by MEMHREP so that, other sister schools could also benefit. Based on the level of enthusiasm shown by the students, MEMHREP intends to liaise with school authorities to form "Mental Health Advocacy Groups" in schools to help speed up the awareness of mental health issues.

It must be noted that, MEMHREP has been operating in Ghana and the UK for the past seven years. Led by Mr. Adu Gyamfi, this registered NGO has been providing care and support to people on the street suffering from mental problems. Such support includes bathing, feeding and clothing the patients on regular basis on the streets. MEMHREP has also been making donations in kind and cash to orphanages and psychiatric hospitals in Ghana and abroad.

Unfortunately, the effort of the NGO is being constraint by financial and logistical resources. MEMHREP would therefore like to appeal to the general public to come to their aid. Currently, MEMHREP is building an untra-modern Rehabilitation Centre in Ashanti Region to accommodate the mental patients, give them medical and religious treatment, counselling, and train those who might be recovered to acquire employable skills.

Source: Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang