Sondra J. Fogel, PhD, LCSW, associate professor in the School of Social Work, traveled to Ghana over the summer to conduct research alongside colleagues from the University of Ghana and the University of Houston. Titled “Access to care, stigma, and barriers to mental health services in Ghana,” Fogel's research explores not only the perceptions of mental health in the country, but also dives into narratives surrounding women empowerment and witches in urban and rural communities.
Fogel collected data from over 600 surveys, which examined subjects' responses to vignettes of issues such as gambling, domestic violence, substance abuse, schizophrenia, depression, suicide, and anxiety. Six focus groups of women, three from Accra and three from Tamale, were asked about women empowerment issues and the topic of witches. The groups discussed how women can be accused of being witches and how those accused were cleansed. Fogel says that hearing the stories from these women was one of the best parts of her time in Ghana.