By Dora Awuah
I have personally benefited enormously from the Short Course in Mental Health organised by the Australian Government through Australia Awards Africa and QUT. Prior to the course, the Dora Awuah Foundation , a foundation that seeks to promote sound mental health and reduce the prevalence of mental health problems in Ghana, has been established, but nothing much has been achieved in terms of programmes and activities. Following the exposure gained through the course, we have finally implemented beneficial and meaningful programs in the areas of leadership, involvement of community volunteers, collaborations, and the utilisation of innovations. I have since collaborated with two alumni, Eugenia Xatse and Denis Daliri in most of our outreaches. Below is just a summary list of our innovative programmes that were implemented in the wake of COVID-19 (2020 & 2021).
- Food donation exercise during the lockdown in Ghana (March and April)
- Establishment of an ad-hoc Reading Club to engage 15 children between the ages of five to 15 years in Reading activities when schools were closed down in Ghana in 2020
- Community outreach in a market, in collaboration with the Mental Health Team from Madina Polyclinic, Ghana during 2020 World Mental Health Day.
To enhance resilience and stress-coping strategies, the Foundation sought to organise webinars and publish both print and online articles on mental health issues commencing March 2021. Two Webinars have been organised as follows:
- March: Social Connectedness and Mental Health.
- April: Gratitude and Mental Health.
Articles have since been published on these topics. In May, an article was published on Child and Adolescent Mental Health and the Role of Parents. In the same month, a house-to-house community outreach was conducted to educate parents on the above subject.
Altogether, twelve (12) families were sensitized and donated with some clothing. The articles are available on the links below: