Psychaidnlove Outreach’s second visit to the Accra Psychiatric Hospital and the essence of volunteering during the National Volunteers Day.
21st September happens to be Founder’s Day in Ghana hence, it is observed as a national holiday, and the Ghana Think Foundation has by wide consensus turned that day into a National Volunteers Day. This has encouraged the youth to actively participate and champion this cause. This was my first time of taking part in the national volunteering day activity by Ghana Think Foundation.
My first ever volunteering work was on 21st September 2015, when I joined the team at Psychaidnlove Outreach to donate some items they had bought from funds they solicited from friends and family for the Children’s ward of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital.
After that gesture, I reflected on the need to be active in volunteering so I became a permanent member of Psychaidnlove Outreach and have grown to be their Social Media Lead in our one year and a few weeks of existence. I also volunteer for Wikimedia Ghana User Group and within some months I have become their Social Media Lead as well. It’s been an interesting journey for me after I first volunteered and the learning opportunities have been just amazing.
This year’s outreach was our second visit to the Accra Psychiatric Hospital.
This time not to just the Children’s Ward but the hospital as a whole.We as a team from Psychaidnlove Outreach collaborated with the Life Developers Movement to donate to the Accra Psychiatric Hospital after their plea in the newspapers some few weeks ago about how much they owed their suppliers. We found it prudent to do something about their plight since our main aim as a group is to bridge the gap between persons living with mental illness and the society at large. Even though our kind gesture may not entirely solve the massive challenges facing the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, we were able to put smiles on the faces of most patients who have been neglected by their families and society.
Our day started with a donation, and we presented our items to the hospital administrators on duty. We then visited the various wards in the Hospital. Our first stop was the children’s ward, which houses about 15 children with various mental health conditions; some of these children have been left to their fate with the Hospital. We visited the male observation ward, male and female admission wards, male and female geriatric wards.
The state of the facility in which the patients live and nurses operate is a bad sight to behold. It gets even sadder looking at how the issue of mental health is handled in Ghana. Psychiatric hospitals are in dire need of support from everyone of us in order to give the vulnerable patients the care and attention they need.
Before this outreach, the Ghana Think Foundation organized a twitter chat on #NVDay16 and one theme that run through was that we need to get a lot of people to cultivate the habit of volunteering in Ghana. Participating in volunteerism is fairly new in Ghana and so it is with some of these activities we undertake, constantly creating mental health awareness and calling for more support from the general public.
One thing I can say for sure is this; volunteering has made me a bold person and I have totally learnt a lot since I started a year ago.
Facebook and LinkedIn: Justice Okai-Allotey
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