The slogan “No health without mental health” is used more than a decade now to get attention for the lack of mental health services and the continuing stigma.Nowadays, new developments break down the old dichotomy between physical and mental health - as much as there is no cleat line between what is mad and what is 'normal'.
Attending the World Psychiatry Association Meeting in Lisbon, I saw how the full range of psychiatry was represented, from biomedical scientists discussing how lithium added to the drinking water could prevent dementia, to the researcher from an Institute of Islamic Thought who explained how study of the Quran and Hadith helps reduce female infanticide: a female baby should be seen as Glad tidings from God! But there was a common denominator: all agreed that we need to turn to person-centered care, rather than focusing on statistics and diagnostics. That was a Glad Tiding indeed for C4C. I wrote a blog about it here.
...and here is a link to the second poster we prepared for the World Psychiatric Association Congress, about the way C4C aims to bring change building on local culture & knowledge.
By realizing the potential of their own resources women can address mental health, social and sexual-reproductive health needs in Guinea.
In Guinea, access to mental health and SRHR services is among the lowest worldwide. The 2014 Ebola outbreak hindered development of an already weak health system and increased mental illness. High rates of teenage pregnancy, gender inequality combined with female genital mutilation (97% of women aged 15-49) contributes to mortality and social suffering.
Our design is based on latest insights in realist research, complexity theory and implementation theory. As such it aims to show how sensitive issues can be effectively addressed in a complex setting, synergizing the potentialities, approaches and expertise of different actors and partners. The method leads to specific actions that
Select and ‘dynamize’ agents of change in communities, who will work through different networks and groups according to needs and priorities identified in a repetitious process;
Use social actions including theatre and public debates as effective methods of transforming people's behaviour through instilled reflection on contexts that shape mental health, SRHR and SGBV issues.
Organise cross referral and collaboration between a variety of services, and strengthen accountability and sustainability of service delivery.
Innovative aspects: We do not work with preconceived ideas for solutions, western-based blueprints or donor-specific protocols. We organize exchange between local and international partners to link local effectiveness to international knowledge.
Results and conclusions
Application of new insights in implementation theory and complexity management leads to a dynamic process of change, rather than traditional project implementation.
Take away points – less obvious than many would think:
1. Listen to people – understand their real issues
2. Do not medicalize social-economical problems
3. Use community systems
4. Strengthen the agency of people to design their own solutions