The government has been urged to ensure that provisions made for women experiencing gender-based violence are accessible to women with disabilities, including women with mental health disabilities.
That would ensure that women who may develop mental health conditions as a result of gender-based violence, would get the needed support.
Madam Diane Kingston, the Global Technical Lead for Disability Inclusion and Mainstreaming at Sightsavers, an international disability rights organization, has made the call in an interview with this reporter on this year’s International Women’s Day, yesterday 8th March 2021.
Among some interventions she would want the Government of Ghana to put in place to improve mental health service delivery in the Country are, having a helpline that people going through mental health challenges could call to report and get help, as well as having shelters for women experiencing gender-based violence. All these, she said, must be accessible to women with all kinds of disabilities, including women with mental health conditions.
She stressed that such facilities would contribute immensely to mental health service provision in the country. She, however, noted that whatever efforts Government makes to improve mental health service provision in the country, would mean nothing if the citizenry did not change their attitude towards persons with mental health conditions.
“Government could be providing a whole range of fantastic services but if you’re trapped at individual level or family level or in the wider society and you are stigmatized for your mental health condition, then it doesn’t matter the quality of service that is available for you”, Madam Diane explained.
She urged the public to eschew discrimination, stigmatization and every other attitude that impact negatively on the well-being of persons with mental health conditions.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is observed annually worldwide on 8th March to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, to raise awareness about women’s equality, to lobby for accelerated gender parity and to raise funds for female-focused charities.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “CHOOSE TO CHALLENGE”. Touching on the theme, Madam Diane Kingston, who is herself, a person with a mental health condition, urged women with mental health disabilities to challenge stigma against mental health conditions.
She encouraged them to be strong and work hard to prove to society that it is possible to have a mental health condition and live a healthy and normal life.