Brandee Burler

Publication Date

Fall 1997


This study was conducted to investigate contemporary orthodox and unorthodox methods of treatment as well as the factors affecting one's decision to seek treatment. During the colonial era the mentally ill, then referred to as lunatics, were segregated and incarcerated with common criminals. It wasn't until 1888 that the colonial government passed a legislative ordinance to provide for the custody of "lunatics" in an asylum in the former High Court in Victoriaborg, Accra. Prior to the appearance of Western orthodox medicine, traditional healers, most often spiritualists and herbalists, before coming to the hospital, treated all ailments, including mental illness, locally. Sometimes due to dangerous methods and techniques traditional healers cause patients more harm than good. However, in some instances patient receive more of what they need, by way of individual attention and social psychological support, from a traditional healer than from the overcrowded and understaffed psychiatric facilities. Presently the best chance for the delivery of mental health care in Ghana lies in the joining of the two fronts.