Establishing Culturally Sensitive Therapeutic Communities in Ghana for Individuals with Severe and Persistent Mental Illnesses


Evelyn Owusu

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Judith Fox

Second Advisor

Shelly Smith-Acuna

Third Advisor

Thomas Barrett


Therapeutic community, Treatment manual, Diagnosis, Mental health care, Mental health stigma, Third world country, Deinstitutionalization, Culturally sensitive, Mental health law, Severe and persistent mental illness


This paper makes a proposal for the establishment of therapeutic communities for people with severe and persistent mental illnesses in Ghana. It discusses the history and features of therapeutic communities, as well as the elements that make it compatible with the agenda of the new 2012 Ghana mental health bill. This paper also discusses the present state of mental health care in this West African country and how the establishment of therapeutic communities will promote recovery of people with severe and persistent mental illness, and change the perception of chronic mental illness in Ghana. A discussion of potential modifications of the therapeutic community is offered as well as justifications for maintaining other structural aspects should this establishment materialize in Ghana. The costs of setting up therapeutic communities in this third world country are addressed with the offered conclusion that costs far outweigh the benefits. Finally, given the endeavor of the proposed therapeutic communities to assist in deinstitutionalization of care, cautions are made in this paper to ensure that the trends experienced in the United States with deinstitutionalization are not replicated in Ghana. A proposal is made in the conclusion for Ghana to move past therapeutic communities when developmentally able- to community mental health centers which were in part established to account for some of the fallouts of deinstitutionalization by providing a comprehensive and extensive range of services for people with severe and persistent mental illness.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


35 pages

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