Current practices in community treatment of the mentally ill in Ontario, Canada: Learning opportunities for improving Ghana’s mental health systemedit
With the enactment of Ghana’s Mental Health Act (Act 846) in 2012, the country is poised for implementing the conditions of this law. A careful review of the Act indicates the government’s willingness to make outpatient mental health treatment a priority. The focus, it seems, is to ameliorate congestion in the country’s mental health institutions and to provide effective treatment for individuals diagnosed with mental illness. This paper gives a historical trajectory of the mental health care system in Ghana and outline the steps being taken to improve the mental health care system. The authors argue that the challenges in implementing the Mental Health Act are enormous and that substantial political will is required to ensure its success. To substantiate this assessment, an effort is made to explore community mental health systems in the Western world, specifically Ontario, Canada, and its impact on the mental health of individuals who have utilized mental health services. Such services include legislative mandated outpatient programs like Community Treatment Orders. The authors conclude that despite the intent and the laudability of the government’s proposed implementation of an efficient outpatient mental health care system, much effort will be required to ensure its efficacy. Some of the issues faced by the government in ensuring this effectiveness include the lack of resources, mental health personnel and political will.