Title

Mental Health in Ghana: The Impact of Stigma and Poverty on an Invisible Institution

Author

Zoe Stern

Class Year

2014

Access Type

Archival Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Sociology Department

First Advisor

William Hoynes

Abstract

The issue of mental health care is becoming a critical international concern. However, in many developing countries, mental illness remains stigmatized, resulting in significant impediments to the provision of mental health care services. This thesis is an investigation of the state of mental health care in Ghana, an Anglophone democratic republic in West Africa. I assert that stigmatization and poverty both effect and are effected by mental illness. This presents structural challenges including the caliber of professionals available, the conditions of mental health facilities, the existence of problematic, often abusive, non-medical practices, and governmental and societal ambivalence toward mental health. I argue that even though steps have been taken to increase the understanding of mental illness and improve the delivery of mental health care, there are still many changes that need to take place in order to secure the rights of the vulnerable, and provide access to mental health treatment for all Ghanaians in need. These changes require an uprooting of the longstanding stigma through community care efforts.

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