Date of Award

January 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Elizabeth Bradley


Background: Ghana is among countries facing human resource shortages for mental healthcare. Since 2011, the country has shifted to a community-based model of mental healthcare and has used task-shifting to fill the mental health professional gap.

Methods and Results: A qualitative study was conducted using in-depth interviews with 17 community mental health workers (16 psychology college graduates and 1 community psychiatric nurse) employed through the publically funded health system to explore their experiences in mental health promotion and service delivery on the ground. Several findings characterize the CMHWs experiences: limited mental health literacy, overwhelming stigma, performing duties outside of their job skill, lack of resources, and insufficient work space were all challenging factors to performing their work; unintended consequences arose from the possession of a psychology degree; a high degree of coping was exhibited by all participants their experiences generated significant future value.

Conclusions: CMHWs have important potential for building capacity in the mental health workforce and subsequent strengthening of the mental health system. Despite their much-needed work in changing mental health perceptions at the community level, they are still limited in their impact. The Ministry of Health must pay attention to engaging religious leaders to promote enhanced mental health literacy, fulfilling their commitment to provide free psychotropic medications, and leveraging future human capital to facilitate mental health program efficacy.


This thesis is restricted to Yale network users only. It will be made publicly available on 06/07/2018