Last November we shared a story on the development of our community mental health awareness program and the implementation of mental health services through the King’s Medical Centre.

Over the last year, with the leadership of Dr. Duah, the Medical Centre began to act more on mental health awareness and treatments in this area. Community visits began as a way to create mental health awareness, it expanded to bi-weekly visits treating patients within these communities. Pastor Robert and Stephen Asante would visit communities where various cases had been found for followups and distribution of medication. As the community visits were taking place, and was steadily growing with patients, a plan was being established to see the bi-weekly visits turn into a once a week, fully run, mental health clinic. Earlier this year, in January, this plan went into action. One of the consultation rooms is set aside specifically for Physician Assistant Simon Bugre and psychiatric nurse, Stephen Asante, to address the needs of patients with mental health concerns seeking help. 

Currently the clinic runs every Thursday at the King’s Medical Centre. At the close of last year there were more than 20 patients being treated in various communities. Asante would visit the communities and assess the progress of the patients and would administer medication as needed. Currently, since the clinic opened in January, there are 56 patients that attend the clinic, on rotation, to receive continued assessment and treatment. The clinic is growing weekly as new patients are identified and come to seek advice and treatment for their specific need. The patients range in age from the youngest at 4 years old to the oldest being over 70. 

The clinic is an excellent resource for patients, and their families, to learn more about living with mental health. The medical staff are truly trying to eliminate the negative stigma that comes with mental health by educating and encouraging the caretakers of the patient. Educating the caretakers is almost as important as distributing medication. 

“It’s not just about the drugs,” PA Bugre says when talking about what is needed to help his patients succeed in all areas. During one consultation he spent time explaining to a distressed mother how to better respond to her young daughter with disabilities. He explained how communicating differently to her child could bring drastic behavior change. It’s clear that this is a place that allows people to be honest and real and in return they are encouraged. 

Even with the weekly clinic days happening, there will be continued teachings in the communities on mental health awareness. This is absolutely necessary in order to continue to educate individuals on mental health and how to identify people that would benefit from treatments. The team also keeps records of who hasn’t been to their followups and will do house visits if necessary. 

We, at the King’s Village, are thankful to see this area of health progress the way it has in the last year. We are grateful for the clinic being a place, with no stigma associated with mental health, for patients to come and learn more about their disability. Currently, the clinic is free of charge to our patients. Consultations and medications are covered by health insurance, and if the patients insurance is expired they can take a waiver provided by the medical centre that will wave any fee to renew. 

The mental health medical team is thankful for the progress made in the last year. They don’t want to stop here, instead they have big plans for the future. They are continually thinking of ways to expand this even further and have recently submitted a proposal to open up a department completely focused on mental health patients. The dream is to have a building where patients can come and stay while they seek treatment, and a place where family members are encouraged and educated as caregivers. The management team, and all involved with the mental health clinic, are trusting that they will see this dream come to pass.