The Stakeholders in a group photograph after the discussion.

A new cadre of community mental health caregivers, the psych corps, has been introduced to enhance the provision of care and services given to people with mental illness in undeserved communities in Ghana.

The psych corps, psychology graduates, who have received training in caring for mentally ill people would help push mental health service to a higher level by taking mental health care to the people in the communities.

They would among other things, help detect early cases of mental illness; supervise mentally ill patients in taking their medication and give education on mental health issues.

Dr Akwasi Osei, head of the psychiatric hospital and acting Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority said psych corps would be posted to the various communities via the national service scheme.

He said the introduction of the psych corps would be one of the avenues to push the concept of task shifting so some of the duties of the clinical psychologists and psychiatrist would be taken on by people related in a field.

?We are calling it task shifting because they are not clinical psychologist yet we don?t have enough of clinical psychologists in the system and qualified mental health personnel so we give them training so they can provide some form of mental health service in their communities,? he said.

He made these assertions at the breakfast roundtable discussion on mental health and psych corps in Accra.

The discussion brought together stakeholders in mental health care to deliberate on ways to support human resources for community-level mental health and enhancing the psych corps.

Dr Angela Ofori-Atta, a clinical psychologist said the introduction of the new cadre of assistance would bring psychology persons into communities to provide first aid in mental health.

She said the psych corps would also serve as a ready outlet for health educational programme, HIV AIDS, counselling and compliance, ?so not just mental health but also physical health.?

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri


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