Takes from Ghana mHealth for Mental Health visit

Recently I have returned from a fascinating visit to Ghana with Academic Dror Ben Zeev PhD. We had collaborated back when when the DFNF team and I consulted on video content and then created numerous assets for his groundbreaking FOCUS app.

The question this time around was whether mHealth interventions could be applied in low and medium income economies such as Ghana to improve mental health care. My remit specifically was to research the cultural as well as practical repercussions (and potential) of video content. This is significant because whether we create a traditional-healer-facing-app or a stigma buster for families, many of the target audience would be semi or illiterate; cultural sensitivities and difference are another reason to consider such asset creation carefully.

I also took a little camera with me in the hope of sharing both the challenges and the potential we might encounter on our visit; here is a film with some key takes:

There is additional pertinent context on the University of Washington’s (USA) mh4mh website.

We have visited prayer camps and hospitals, met up with numerous clinicians, aid workers and patients – as well as business and political decision makers – and encountered nothing but great enthusiasm for applying mobile health interventions to improve mental health service provision.

Specifically it was encouraging to learn that local experts, in fact even traditional healers, can see how such projects could help in reducing the horrific abuse of chaining patients to concrete slabs, caging and starving them.

Now I’m just a film guy so I can help by telling the story and then creating content for the proposed mHealth intervention but if you’re in a position to support this project more strategically, do get in touch.


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