Attitudes towards persons with mental health conditions and psychosocial disabilities as rights holders in Ghana: a World Health Organization study

BMC Psychiatry. 2023 Mar 7;23(1):142. doi: 10.1186/s12888-023-04620-3.


Background: There are currently major efforts underway in Ghana to address stigma and discrimination, and promote the human rights of those with mental health conditions, within mental health services and the community, working with the World Health Organization's QualityRights initiative. The present study aims to investigate attitudes towards people with lived experience of mental health conditions and psychosocial disabilities as rights holders.

Methods: Stakeholders within the Ghanaian mental health system and community, including health professionals, policy makers, and persons with lived experience, completed the QualityRights pre-training questionnaire. The items examined attitudes towards coercion, legal capacity, service environment, and community inclusion. Additional analyses explored how far participant factors may link to attitudes.

Results: Overall, attitudes towards the rights of persons with lived experience were not well aligned with a human rights approach to mental health. Most people supported the use of coercive practices and often thought that health practitioners and family members were in the best position to make treatment decisions. Health/mental health professionals were less likely to endorse coercive measures compared to other groups.

Conclusion: This was the first in-depth study assessing attitudes towards persons with lived experience as rights holders in Ghana, and frequently attitudes did not comply with human rights standards, demonstrating a need for training initiatives to combat stigma and discrimination and promote human rights.

Keywords: Attitudes; CRPD; Coercion; Human rights; Mental health; QualityRights; Rights-based care; World Health Organization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ghana
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders* / therapy
  • Mental Health*
  • Social Stigma
  • World Health Organization