There is growing recognition in many countries that mental health is a crucial public health and development issue. There is also emerging evidence that a range of clinical, social and economic interventions can have a positive benefit for the mental health of communities. Yet mental health is not given the priority it deserves. The aim of this study is to examine mental health policy development and implementation in Ghana, with a view to identifying the key barriers to mental health policy development and implementation, and steps that can be taken to strengthen the mental health system in the country. This study forms part of a broader international mental health research consortium based in Ghana, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia, which aims to investigate the policy level interventions that are required to break the vicious cycle of poverty and mental ill-health, in order to generate lessons for a range of low- and middle-income countries. The findings of this first phase of the study in Ghana will be used to inform a set of interventions, developed in partnership with the Mental Health Unit at the Ministry of Health.
The study makes use of quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Quantitative methods were employed to assess current mental health resources (such as budgets, beds, staff) and service utilisation. Qualitative methods were employed to provide an understanding of the processes, underlying issues and interactions between key stakeholders in mental health policy development and implementation. Methods are described in detail in Chapter 2 of the report.
Chapter 3 of the report sets out results under the headings: Context; Mental health situation; General policy making processes in Ghana; Process of mental health policy and law development; Content of mental health policy and law; Mental health policy implementation at the national (macro) and regional (meso) level; Mental health policy implementation at the district (micro) level - case study of Kintampo North District; Service users; Key issues in mental health service implementation in Ghana; and Research.
Chapters 4 and 5 of the report give the discussion and conclusions from the research. A number of appendices are also attached.