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150 Stabilised From Mental Illness   
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BasicNeeds-Ghana, a mental health and development advocacy organisation, has supported 150 persons stabilised from mental illness or epilepsy in the Savelugu Municipality of the Northern Region to venture into vegetable production.

The support, through BasicNeeds vegetable gardening project, seeks to provide good gardening practices to mental health service users to help increase their nutrition and income earning capacities through dry season gardening.

The project, funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Adaptation Fund, is dubbed :"BasicNeeds-Ghana Promoting Gardening for Improved Mental Health Outcomes and Productivity in Northern Ghana" project.


Contrary to public perceptions describing mentally ill persons as unproductive and a burden to society, the intervention forms part of efforts to make them become productive, earn income to support their families and enhance their general well-being.

The beneficiaries have been resourced with vegetable seeds, water pumping machines, garden tools and equipment.

In an interview with some beneficiaries at a vegetable garden at Zaazi (one of the project communities), Ms Abdulai Hannah, an epileptic 25-year-old woman, said the intervention from BasicNeeds-Ghana and its funding partners had empowered and given her hope to support her family.

"At first I was finding it difficult to support my husband like giving my child money to go to school but with the support from BasicNeeds-Ghana, I get about GH₡ 50 from selling my vegetables from the garden every two weeks to support my child," she said.

Mr Adam Abdullai, a caregiver to his 10-year-old boy with epilepsy, said that before the project, they had challenges with getting the vegetable seedlings, difficulty in drawing water for irrigation as well as preventing animals from grazing on their vegetable farms but through the project, they had been able to curb these challenges .

He lauded the project for helping to improve on his family's living conditions including feeding and buying medicine to cater for his child's welfare and urged BasicNeeds-Ghana to do more.

The project

The Project Officer at BasicNeeds-Ghana, Mr Azuure Sandow Stanislaus, said the first phase of the project began last year while the second phase of the project had also started this year, resourcing a total of 150 primary beneficiaries, made up of women, men, and youth with mental illness or epilepsy and their care givers.

He said the beneficiaries were also working with BasicNeeds-Ghana Volunteer Gardener on a daily basis, who equipped them with the required vegetable gardening knowledge, skills and competencies to enhance productivity and good yield.

The intervention, he said, was to create public awareness that people with mental illness could be productive to the society if, only, they were supported.
Source: Daily Graphic

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