Search

George Kunyangna, Clinical Psychiatric Officer

George Kunyangna graduating in KintampoI hope we can get more people interested in mental health in Ghana. In the future I hope there are some other programmes so that I’m able to specialise to benefit people here.

Witnessing the distress of a homeless man near his workplace every day, George Kunyangna began to feel a bitter anger over the lack of care offered to him.

No one intervened to help the anonymous vagrant, who appeared mentally unwell in the grounds of George’s workplace at Goaso.

The man eventually disappeared, but the episode sparked a desire to help out similarly neglected individuals with mental health problems in Ghana.

Months later, George had signed up to the Kintampo training programme, and is now a fully trained Clinical Psychiatric Officer, working at the Kintampo Psychosocial Centre in the Brong Ahafo Region.

George says: ‘When I saw what was happening to this man I thought to myself, these are citizens, and they have the right to enjoy life. Everybody was running away from him, but I thought somebody must help him.

‘I just felt so bad, and thought ‘this is a human being’. Other people perceived him to be a threat.

Mental illness is a common problem and anyone can fall prey to it. If I am able to help out, they deserve our help. People can lose their dignity, everything gone. I just want to give something back to them.

A short time after seeing this man I heard about the Kintampo programme. I felt good about the opportunity and thought, why not?

George began his working life as a nurse, before becoming a Medical Assistant for about eight years, prior to undertaking the Kintampo training.

As well as holding a clinic at the Kintampo Psychosocial Centre, George also now teaches at the College of Health in Kintampo, aiming to educate others about mental health problems.

He graduated from the Kintampo programme in 2012, and finished the highest ranking student overall.

George adds: ‘I hope we can get more people interested in mental health in Ghana. In the future I hope there are some other programmes so that I’m able to specialise to benefit people here.

George has visited the UK, as part of a cohort of Kintampo graduates who are furthering their skills as educators and boosting mental health practice at home in Ghana.

However, whilst his career is flourishing, George has to overcome doubts from his family and friends about his chosen profession.

He says: ‘Some people think that if you work with mental patients, you must be like them, but I am trying to dispel that conception!

I feel the Kintampo programme is a noble programme, and I will encourage anyone in the health sector especially Physician Assistants to access the excellent training.’

Read more about Clinical Psychiatric Officers