Ghana Medical Journal

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Mental health research in Ghana: A literature review

UM Read, VCK Doku


Context/Background: Mental health is a neglected area in health care in Ghana. With few clinicians and trained researchers in the field, research has been limited both in quantity and quality.
Method: A search of the available literature revealed 98 articles published between 1955 and 2009. Sixty-six are reviewed in this paper.
Results: Topics covered included hospital and community-based prevalence studies, psychosis, depression, substance misuse, self-harm, and helpseeking. Much of the research was small in scale and thus largely speculative in its conclusions. Epidemiological data is scarce and unreliable and no large-scale studies have been published. There are very few studies of clinical practice in mental health.

Conclusions: The existing literature suggests several important areas for future research to inform the  development of targeted and effective interventions in mental health care in Ghana.

Keywords: mental health, psychiatry, mental disorders, Ghana, research, epidemiology

AJOL African Journals Online