Humanize People With Mental Health Disabilities- Human Rights Watch

Mental Health Disabilities
Ms. Elizabeth Kamudia

By: Michael Ahinsah

The Deputy Director for the Disability Rights division, Human Rights Watch, Ms. Elizabeth Kamundia, in an interview on the Uniiq Breakfast Drive to create awareness on Human rights violations against people with mental health disabilities in certain institutions has denounced inhuman treatment towards people with mental health disabilities.

According to her, the Human Rights Watch have visited different institutions across the Eastern Region and Central Region of Ghana including prayer camps and traditional healing centers to investigate the treatment of people with disabilities describing their treatment as “nothing short of torture”.

“We found people there in chains. We are talking of chains that are less than a metre long and people’s entire lives are lived in this radius. They eat there, they drink there, they defecate there and if they are lucky they will get a shower once every two weeks” Ms. Kamundia said.

In a further description of the poor treatment of persons with mental health disability, Ms. Kamundia said, ” in one camp that we went to, they were in cages. I mean the men’s cages you couldn’t even stretch your arms out. That was the nature of confinement”.

She enjoined people to re-examine how they perceive mental health and find a more human approach to some of these issues explaining that mental health issues could happen to anyone. She added that enforcing the ban on shackling is very critical in curbing human rights violations towards people with disabilities.

However, a listener, Alhaji Dauda, phoned in to raise concerns about the violent behaviour of some mental health patients which often leads to strict confinement and asked Ms. Kamundia to provide a more efficient methodology to deal with such situations.

“we were at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital and we asked them what they usually do and they said they have been trained in de-escalation techniques. They talked about horseshoe were a number of staff come around the person, one maintains eye contact and speaking gently to the person until the person calms down based on the communication and they may then give them a medication to help them calm down”, Ms. Kamundia answered.

Human Rights Watch is a global Human Right Organisation that is deducated to protecting and defending human rights.

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