April 04, 2022
Share onBy HFFG
Madam Josephine is a teacher and single mother of 22 year old Serwaa, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth. Being the primary caregiver of a child with mental health condition (cerebral palsy), Madam Josephine belongs to a self-help group in the Greater Accra Region where she, with other caregivers provide support for each other.
Under the Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) and stigma reduction for mental health and disability inclusion (Ghana Participatory SBC) project, being implemented by Hope for Future Generations and The PsykForum Consortium, with funding from the UK Government, a caregivers’ training session was organized in December 2021. The objective of the session was to empower caregivers on the needs of people with disabilities and how to contribute to reducing the barriers they face at living a meaningful life. The objective of the session was premised on the fact that both people with disabilities including those with mental health conditions and their caregivers face stigma and discrimination in their everyday lives.
Stigma and discrimination is grave when caregivers are not properly orientated on the needs of people with disabilities including mental health conditions. There is also enormous pressure on caregivers as they may have other responsibilities apart from caring for people with disabilities. These pressures may lead to accumulated stress which may result in abuse and ill-treatment of people with disabilities, depression among caregivers and other medical related problems. Empowering caregivers on stress management was aimed at helping them cope better so that they are able to provide quality care for their loved ones. Other topics that were treated at the session included: Needs and rights of people with disabilities including people mental health conditions, Stigma and Discrimination, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Psychosocial Support and Referral services.
Madam Josephine was a participant at the caregivers training session in December 2021. At the session, participants were encouraged to take breaks in the care of their loved ones from time to time, arrange support for care so they are able to rejuvenate and subsequently be able to better provide continued quality care.
After the training session, Madam Josephine has been making significant changes in her life as a caregiver and that of her daughter to improve upon their lives. Her first change was taking time off her care routine and second was improving her psychosocial support for her daughter. She wrote ‘I took time off from “DJ” (my daughter who lives with cerebral Palsy). I went to Kumasi to visit my elder Sister and her family….I left Serwaa with her grandma and spent some few days touring Kumasi. The change of environment was awesome because I relaxed from the “pressures” of staying in Accra’.
Subsequently, Madam Josephine and her daughter were invited under the project for a photoshoot session which she was very pleased to do. Nearly living her life indoors, Serwaa had a refreshing moment during the field trip. Serwaa met new people and made new friends and she was very happy. Madam Josephine further resolved to be taking her daughter out more often as she realised that her daughter had fun during the road trip.
The confidence of Madam Josephine has improved as she now posts her daughter’s pictures on her social media (WhatsApp platform).
June 04, 2021
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Participants drawn from 7 disability organisations, including two mental health groups in Greater Accra and the Western regions have benefitted from an education session on the current issues on COVID-19 and the services available to persons with disabilities and how to access those services.
The session which was organised by Hope for Future Generations and the PsykForum took place at the Sunlodge Hotel Accra on 21st May 2021 and the Aya Community Centre, Ellembelle in the Western Region as part of a one year project titled Help for Helpers+ psychosocial support for health workers and persons with disabilities including mental health conditions under the Ghana Somubi Dwumadie.
The goal of the project is to provide psychosocial support to health workers and people with lived experiences of disabilities including mental health conditions in the Greater Accra and Western Regions during the COVID-19 outbreak in Ghana.
Participants were taken through COVID-19 education where issues on prevention, treatments and myths were discussed extensively. Participants were encouraged to support the campaign on vaccination exercises on-going in the country and ensure their members have information and take the vaccination.
The facilities and services available to persons with disabilities as stipulated in the Disability Act were also discussed and participants were encouraged to take advantage of such provisions made for them. While very grateful about the education on what the Law said, some of the participants lamented that they were yet to experience the reality of such provisions.
A stakeholder engagement was held with representatives from Social Welfare departments, Health Facilities and Municipal Health Directorates Participants shared their experiences in adhering to the COVID-19 protocols and challenges in accessing health care services. Participants shared some of their experiences with the stakeholders. A key feedback from the engagement was the fact that most of the participants and other persons with disabilities were missed during the distribution of relief items to vulnerable groups during the COVID partial lockdown. Some also suggest that persons with disabilities including mental health conditions should be given priority in the vaccination exercise. A participant praised Hope for Future Generations for ‘bringing persons with disabilities together to engage and discuss the impact of the pandemic on people with disabilities including mental health conditions and what needs to be done moving forward
April 19, 2021
Share onBy HFFG
The Help for Helpers+ psychosocial support for frontline health workers and persons with mental disabilities is a one year project being implemented by HFFG and the PsykForum with funding from The Ghana Somubi Dwumadie.
The goal of the project is to provide psychosocial support to health workers and people with lived experiences of disabilities in the Greater Accra and Western Regions during the COVID-19 outbreak in Ghana. In the Greater Accra Region, the project is run in four (4) districts namely: La Dade Kotopon, Korle Klottey, Ayawaso West and Ga East Municipalities. Ellembelle and Secondi Takoradi make up the districts in the Western Region.
By the end of the project’s first quarter (October – January) , 139 frontline health workers were provided with psychoeducation. Psychoeducation is a systematic, and structured didactic knowledge transfer on mental health/illness and how to cope and thrive in spite of the condition. For this particular exercise there was psychoeducation on the different dynamics of covid-19 such as the economic, social, political and mental health implications and how to cope.
It further educated participants on mental health through the life-span and the potential challenges that can develop if one’s mental health is not taken seriously. For frontline workers it is particularly important since some have suffered social stigma, extreme stress and personal grief during covid-19 especially as a result of providing covid-19 related service and or contracting COVID in the process of providing service.
Considering the overall importance of the intervention, the Head of the Ghana Ambulance Service signed a total of 87 emergency medical technicians, paramedics to be provided with Psycho education. Similarly, 52 health workers were also trained at the Police Hospital for the same reason.