Ghana mental health Act 846 2012: a qualitative study of the challenges and priorities for implementation

  • GH Walker
Keywords: Mental health, Psychiatry, Ghana, Mental health legislation, Policy implementation


Objectives: This study aims to describe the views of key stakeholders in mental health in Ghana on the challenges faced with regard to the implementation of, and priorities for implementation of, the 2012 Mental Health Act of Ghana.
Design: A cross-sectional qualitative study with 12 participants, using semi-structured interviews.
Setting: Greater Accra Region.
Participants: The study population consisted of three groups; Members of the Mental Health Authority Board (MHAB), Providers of Mental Health Care working for the Mental Health Authority and Representatives of non-governmental and educational organisations working in mental health, Four participants were identified from each group.
Interventions: Not Available
Main outcome measures: The interviews, subsequent analysis and output were based around three main topics of discussion: awareness of the Act, challenges to the implementation of the Act, and priorities for implementation.
Results: Challenges identified include: financial limitations, the limited dissemination of the act, delays in the approval of the Legislative Instrument by the Attorney General’s Department, losing access to patients in non-orthodox mental health facilities, inadequate resources for implementation, legal infrastructure, timeframe, and the lack of a physical presence for the new Mental Health Authority. Suggested priorities for implementation include: development of human and financial resources, education, passing of the LI (Legislative Instrument), infrastructure development and human rights protection.
Conclusions: Challenges identified in this study are likely to be applicable to other nations seeking to implement modern Mental Health Legislation. Key stakeholders in the mental health system showed broad concordance in the immediate priorities for Ghana’s Mental Health System.

Keywords: Mental health, Psychiatry, Ghana, Mental health legislation, Policy implementation


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0016-9560