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Press Release

Press Release

Doctoral Thesis on Mental Health and Prayer Camps in Ghana

M.Phil. Francis  Benyah’s doctoral thesis in The Study of Religions will be put forth for public defence at Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology at Åbo Akademi University.

The thesis is entitled Prayer Camps and Mental Health: A Study of the Religious, Human Rights and Media Dimensions of the Healing of Persons with Mental Illness in Ghana.

The public defence of the doctoral thesis takes place on 9 December 2023, at 1PM in Auditorium Armfelt, Arken Tehtaankatu 2, Turku. Professor Afe Adogame, Princeton Theological Seminary, New Jersey, USA, will serve as opponent and Professor Peter Nynäs, Åbo Akademi University, as custos.


This study has been conducted with an extensive interview with patients, prayer camp staff, and health professionals working in collaboration with prayer camps in Ghana. Theoretically, the study was guided by the concept of health and healing among the Akan of Ghana and how the understanding of health and healing in Akan traditional framework is recast in Pentecostal interpretation of healing at prayer camps in Ghana. Through an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of in-depth interviews with patients, staff of prayer camps and mental healthcare practitioners, this study points out the varied ways in which prayer camps have assumed an important role in the healing and care for persons with mental illnesses in Ghana. The study argues that the perceived causes of mental illness and the healing practices found at prayer camps appeal much to the Ghanaian because they resonate with indigenous worldviews. 


Francis Benyah can be reached by email francis.benyah@abo.fi. 

The doctoral thesis can be read online through the Doria publication archive.