“Speak Your Mind” Campaign Kicks Off

United for Global Mental Health (UGMH) is an initiative that brings together campaigners, strategic partners, funders and mental health experts from around the world to promote global efforts towards prioritising mental health services. It is leading a campaign titled #SpeakYourMind which calls on governments around the world to do more to prioritise and provide necessary resources to run mental health services in their respective countries. The #SpeakYourMind Campaign is calling on all well-meaning people to use the opportunity provided by the 72nd World Health Assembly going on in Geneva from May 20 to 24, 2019, to impress upon their governments to do more to improve the mental health situation in their respective countries.

In Ghana, the #SpeakYourMind Campaign is led by BasicNeeds-Ghana. Together with other organisations such as the World Health Organisation’s office in Ghana, the Mental Health Society of Ghana, the Media Coalition for Mental Health Reforms, among others, BasicNeeds-Ghana is promoting awareness of the serious lack of resources that is affecting Ghana’s mental health system. Such lack of resources is not only denying people access to urgent mental health services, but it is also leading a lot of people with psychosocial needs to seek mental health care in less desirable conditions, thereby perpetuating a cycle of human rights abuses meted out to people with mental health disorders.

On Wednesday, May 22, 2019, the Executive Director of BasicNeeds-Ghana, Peter Badimak Yaro, had the opportunity to address delegates at the World Health Assembly as part of the Assembly’s Technical Committee, on the absence of critical resource needs which are preventing people in Ghana from accessing quality mental health services. His address highlighted innovative strategies employed by mental health advocates in Ghana, such as BasicNeeds-Ghana to address the huge challenges affecting access and utilisation of quality mental health services such as high resource deficits, lack of political will and outmoded cultural practices that perpetuate negative behaviour and attitudes towards people with mental illness and epilepsy. He, therefore, appealed to the Government of Ghana, represented at the Assembly by the Minister of Health, to address these problems with the utmost urgency.

To participate in the campaign on Twitter, FaceBook or Instagram, tag the following handles: @BasicNeedsGh, @UnitedGMH, @WHO  and use these hashtags: #SpeakYourMind #GoSpeakYourMind #WHA72 #LetsTalk

Here in Ghana, BasicNeeds-Ghana is actively participating in the online version of the campaign on social media platforms Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, with the support of the Media Coalition for Mental Health Reforms. Since, Sunday May 19, campaigners in Ghana have sustained their message to bring issues of mental health to the front burner. It is expected that at the end of the campaign, statements of commitment will be gathered from duty-bearers in government indicating their readiness to prioritise mental health in Ghana.

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