Mental Health Society of Ghana (MEHSOG) in collaboration with Basic Needs Ghana and Dignity International have trained peer support groups to increase their knowledge and skills to enable them recognize trauma, and link survivors of torture and organized violence to professional support.
The training sessions were held recently in two districts, namely, Ga West and Ledzorkuku in the Greater Accra Region as part of activities under a project dubbed, "Strengthening Access to Timely and Quality Rehabilitation to Survivors of Torture and Organized Violence (TOV) in Ghana.
The project, which seeks to improve access to rehabilitation through trauma-informed mental health and psychosocial support for trauma affected people, is being implemented by Basic Needs Ghana in partnership with Mental Health Society of Ghana and Dignity International with funding from Danish Government through the Foreign Ministry.
It also sought to build the organizational capacity of partners and formal health structures by increasing awareness and promote enforcement on flaws and policies at local and national levels.
Participant were taken through topics including Introduction to TOVs, Understanding of Trauma and Torture, Organized Torture, Organized Violence, Consequences of trauma torture, Signs of trauma related distress, protective factors amongst others.
In a presentation , Mr Humphrey Kofie, Executive secretary of MEHSOG explained that the training was meant was to strengthen and promote access to timely and quality rehabilitation of survivors of TOV nationally and regionally.
According to him, the primary target group and right-holders of the project are survivors of TOV including women, children and people with specific needs and orientation; especially people who have been subjected to TOV in traditional healing centres as well as traumatised returned migrants.
Mr Kofie also mentioned that the project would build capacities of these secondary target groups in the two districts to be able to raise awareness on trauma, mental health and survivors' right to rehabilitation, provide trauma-informed psycho-social counseling and make the appropriate referral.
Mr Humphrey mentioned that the next step was for the peer support groups to go into the community and recognize trauma, and linking survivors of Torture and Organized Violence to professional support and provide community education on the same subject.
He urged the participants to also make some appropriate referrals including the Domestic Violence Unit of the Ghana Police Service and Commission on Human Rights and Administrative.
On their part, participants expressed appreciation for the training and pledged that they would put the exercise to good use.