MHA rescues mentally ill persons from prayer camp in C/R

MHA rescues mentally ill persons from prayer camp in C/R

- Some of the patients who were freed said they defecated and ate at the same place where they were chained

- "No human rights violation of the mentally ill in prayer camps,"Chief Psychiatrist said.

The Divine Prayer Camp at Fantsi Nyankumasi in the Central Region has been raided by a team from the Mental Health Authority (MHA), culminating in the release of 16 mentally challenged people.

Graphic Online reports that some of the patients had been kept at the camp for several months, with chains being put on them to prevent them from escaping.

MHA rescues mentally ill persons from prayer camp in C/R

The state of some of the patients before their rescue

However, on Friday, June 30, 16 of the mentally challenged people being kept at the Divine Prayer Camp were freed after a team from the MHA stormed the camp as part of a campaign to stop the violation of the human rights of such patients.

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Chief Executive Officer of the MHA, Dr Akwasi Osei, bemoaned the treatments which some patients were being subjected to, insisting putting them in chains and caning them constitutes of the violation of their rights.

"They cannot put the patients in chains. Putting them in shackles, locks and chains and whipping them in the name of beating out the demons in them are serious human rights abuses,” he lamented.

He added that the action had become necessary after some heads of prayer camps refused to heed to the MHA's call on them to release all mentally challenged persons in their camps.

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Dr Osei further revealed that the MHA had been in talks with the managers of prayer camps to get them to conform to the Mental Health Act, 2012 but to no avail.

According to him, structures will be put in place to make sure that all released mental challenged persons were well taken care of, before being sent to psychiatric hospitals for better treatment.

The MHA CEO assured that the raid of the Divine Prayer Camp was just the start of a nationwide exercise, adding that prayer camps that refuse to release their mentally challenged patients could be sent before the law.

READ ALSO: Accra Psychiatric Hospital to shut down as it drowns in debts

The action by the MHA to release mentally challenged persons from prayer camps is part of a campaign dubbed "No human rights violation of the mentally ill in prayer camps."

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