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Community Mental Health Officer 

The original curriculum and related documents for this course can be accessed at the bottom of the page.  Note however that the course has developed and some documents have changed.  The most up to date versions are held at College of Health, Kintampo.

Meet our mental health workers

The Community Mental Health Officer (CMHO) is a specialist Community Health Officer (CHO).

In Ghana, Community Health Officers live and work in rural areas at community level. They work in a system called CHPS (pronounced ‘chips’ with a silent ‘i’) – Community Based Health Planning and Services. This is important as CHPS is a successful system of community care. In CHPS, Community Health Officers and community members are actively engaged as partners in the delivery of primary health care and family planning services. The goal of CHPS is to mobilize community residents and resources to increase coverage, improve responsiveness and deliver more equitable and cost-effective health care to Ghana's rural residents

 

The CMHOs assist Community Psychiatric Nurses and Community Psychiatric Officers. Each district (around 220) will eventually have one Community Psychiatric Officer working with Community Psychiatric Nurses and around 3 CMHOs. The CMHOs are ‘the foot soldiers’ of the CPNs and CPOs.

 

Key duties are to:

  • Conduct house to house visits to detect cases of mental disorder
  • Provide psychosocial support, such as family support and education, informal counselling and rehabilitation
  • Monitoring and supervision of patient’s adherence to treatment (case management)
  • Refer cases to CPNs, CPOs and other appropriate health professionals
  • Produce reliable data on mental disorders at the community level
  • Organize mental health promotion activities at the community level
  • Ensure community participation to promote mental health
  • Develop effective professional relationships with clients and their families

 

Details of the programme

  • Entry to training for CMHOs is for Community Health Officers with at least 3 years full time practice. Since 2015 there has also been a high school direct entry programme.
  • The first intake of CMHOs was in October 2010 with 80 students starting at College of Health, Kintampo
  • The training lasts 1 academic year.
  • CMHOs are placed in rural communities once qualified (at district and sub-district level).
  • CMHOs are supervised by CPNs. 
  • Some support for practicing CMHOs is also provided from the UK for many years after they start their work.

 

Download the CMHO curriculum document