Mental Health Training For Traditional Healers

A group photograph of the participants and guests.

All traditional and faith- based healers will soon undergo mental healthcare training to serve as informal community mental health workers.

The training is aimed at empowering them to do early referrals of mental cases outside their domain and also enable them to help mental health patients without abusing the rights of the patients such as chaining and starving them in the name of fasting.

Dr Akwasi Osei, Chief Psychiatrist and Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority (MHA), disclosed this at a four-day annual general meeting of Community Psychiatric Officers (CPOs) and Community Mental Health Officers (CMHOs) at the Kintampo College of Health and Well-Being recently.

Dr Osei noted that the training which would be carried out by the MHA would focus on getting the traditional and faith-based healers to recognise what cases they could handle and what they could not handle.

He also revealed that alongside the developments, there would be training for all health personnel in basic mental healthcare so that they

would be able to administer at least first aid mental care.

Dr Osei disclosed that the board of the MHA would soon form sub-committees at its operational centres of the country to ensure effective operations.

He explained that the sub-committees which would be put in place by the end of 2014 would include regional mental health coordinating committee, mental health tribunal and visiting committees.

Dr Osei further said after the formation of the regional coordinating committees, the board would also form district coordinating committees across the country.

‘When these structures are in place, then we know that the community-oriented care is on course,’ he added.

Touching on career progression for mental health personnel, Dr Osei announced that a structure has been designed for CMHO graduates who would remain in the mainstream to progress as senior CMHO, principal, deputy chief and chief CMHO, with its accompanying increasing remunerations and responsibilities.

He said CPOs who would remain in the mainstream would have the chance to progress to senior CPO, principal, deputychief and chief CPOs, also with its own remuneration and responsibilities.

‘Again, with the streamlining and accreditation issues resolved, opportunities are numerous for those who would wish to embark on higher academic pursuits,’ he assured, adding, ‘Some can also go into MPH and with that opportunities as district directors of health services and regional directors are also opened to you.’

Present at the event were Professor Joseph Bediako Asare, former Chief Psychiatrist, who chaired the meeting, Zanu Dassah, Ashanti Regional Human Resource Manager, representing Dr Margaret Chebere, Director, HR Department, among others.

Alarti-Amoako, Kintampo
[email protected]

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