Project Lead(s): Ama de-Graft Aikins
Mental illness is the largest contributor to disability worldwide.
Three-quarters of the 450 million mentally ill people worldwide live in the developing world, where a devastating link between mental illness and poverty has long been ignored and few receive adequate treatment.
The project aimed to evaluate the services provided by Basic Needs Ghana in selected communities in the Northern Region. The aim was to both test the cost utility of the mental health and development model (in relation to the mental health outcomes, quality of support and livelihood empowerment) and to examine the implications and process for scaling up the model beyond the current focus on four regions, through a social franchising approach.
A quantitative survey questionnaire and focus group discussions were used to gather data.
The quantitative data was gathered from 402 participants, with the assistance of an additional 123 caregivers. Ten focus group discussions were also conducted with 49 participants, using a standardized interviewing guide.
The data was gathered from three districts served by Basic Needs Ghana in the Northern Region of Ghana: Mamprugu Moagduri, North Gonja and West Mamprusi districts.
The project demonstrated that, for new project recipients, the medical and social support provided through the Basic Needs Ghana Mental Health and Development Model had a positive impact on mental health outcomes, physical health and social functioning. However, mental health outcomes were found to be poorer for those who had been registered in the program for more than two years.
All project beneficiaries and their caregivers had access to livelihood empowerment strategies and these strategies improved economic status in the early stages of participation, but not for longer-term participants.
The community focus group discussions also suggested that support was strongest and most sustained with new community recipients of the Basic Needs Ghana model. However, the medical and social support to communities diminished over time, leading to poor health outcomes, social functioning and livelihood empowerment.
These findings suggest there is a need for improvement of Basic Needs Ghana organizational processes, strengthening of the relationships between Basic Needs Ghana and associated community NGOs, and a stronger Basic Needs Ghana advocacy role regarding health system bottlenecks in community mental healthcare delivery.
The project team intends to apply for Transition To Scale (TTF) funding to expand the geographical reach of the model, to promote maternal mental health in 74 districts of four regions in Ghana.