BasicNeeds Ghana was pleased to welcome Melissa Eaglesfield, a Director at Big Lottery Fund (BLF) on 1st October, 2016 in Accra. It was a great opportunity for her to meet the team and interact with the participants in our projects. The Pantang Horticultural Project set up by BasicNeeds was one of the first stops of her visit. This project was set up to promote therapeutic interventions for patients admitted to the Pantang Psychiatric Hospital. The farm manager briefed the team on the history of the farm and the crops grown, he also showed them around the vegetable plots. The service users indicated that they valued the opportunity of coming out of their wards to work in the fields and grow the food that is used in their meals. A number of users who have been discharged have now established their own vegetable gardens.
Ms. Eaglesfield was also able to meet 30 members of the Nima Self-Help Group. The members, who included affected people and their carers, shared their experiences of coming together as a support group and how they were fortunate to receive training, tools and equipment, and funds to engage in livelihood activities. Members also spoke about how they have carried out educating families in their community so that people with mental health care needs who are hidden away, can seek treatment and support.
With the support of the BLF, BasicNeeds Ghana is currently supporting people recovering from mental illness and/or epilepsy and their carers in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions of Ghana to gain skills and have livelihoods that would make them productive and useful to themselves and their families. Not only does this aid recovery, it helps to break down the stigma within the community that has traditionally been a barrier to people seeking treatment and participating in community life.