Self-help groups, disability organisations collaborate to end stigma

Social Disability Support 1

A workshop on Thursday opened in Cape Coast to champion the cause of Persons with Disability (PWD) and break the discrimination barriers to allow them to reach their full potentials.

Social Disability Support 1It also seeks to create awareness on the use of positive disability and mental health language in Ghana and provide the PWDs with the needed support.

Ms Vivian Ama Aubyn, a Psychologist and a Board Member of PyskForum, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), opening the workshop, said the programme would help compel duty bearers to enforce and abide by the policies and laws governing PWDs.

She said it was for those reasons that the Hope for Future Generation and the Psykforum, with funding from UKaid, through the “Ghana Somubi Dwumadie Programme,” were implementing the Social Behavioural Change Communication to reduce stigma and discrimination.

The three-year project is being implemented in four regions; Greater Accra, Central, Savanna and North-East aimed at enhancing mental health and disability inclusion in Ghana.

Ms Aubyn said research findings in 2020 suggested that there were so much derogatory language usage and discrimination against the disabled in the country, hence the project to correct the anomaly.

She urged all to help raise the self-confidence of PWDs to harness their abilities to benefit society and the nation as a whole, while appreciating their efforts.

“Many people have some form of disability so it is wrong for the public to make PWDs feel less human. We need to accept and partner them at all levels and ensure that their rights are respected in the society,” she said.

Madam Aubyn said although laws, such as the Disability Act and the Mental Health Act, had been enacted to promote disability inclusion in Ghana, they still faced those peculiar challenges.

These include the difficulties in accessing services and facilities such as education, funding and information.

“Promoting stronger policies and systems that respect the rights of people with disabilities, including people with mental health issues as well as scaling up high quality and accessible mental health services has become very necessary,” she added.

It was appropriate to refer to someone with mental health condition as a ‘person with mental illness’ rather than the ‘mad man’.

By Victoria Agyemang, GNA


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