Monthly Archives: September 2013

Connecting People in Sierra Leone

Recent estimates from the World Health Organisation (WHO) report an increase in the global burden of disease attributable to mental disorders.  However, about four out of five people in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) in need of mental health services do not receive them.

Social interventions have the potential to fill the treatment gap for people experiencing mental distress in low and middle-income countries. As we are learning from the UK-based pilot study of the Connecting People Intervention (CPI), social interventions can improve the quality of life and community engagement for people with mental health problems. Previous work exploring social capital interventions in India and Malawi suggests the CPI could benefit low-income communities where enhancements to mental health services have potential to boost community development thereby decreasing health inequalities.

Makeni Univeristy

Univeristy of Makeni 

International research is an opportunity to share knowledge across boundaries to evaluate social interventions in different international social, cultural and economic environments. To address this need we are exploring ways in which the social capital principles of the CPI can be adapted and translated to LMIC.

In Sierra Leone, where an estimated 13 per cent of the adult population suffers from a mental disorder and there exists only one trained psychiatrist for a population over 4 million, we have begun working with collaborators from King’s Sierra Leone Partnership to address significant barriers to mental health care.

Psychiatric Nurse TRaining
Psychiatric nurse training

Funded by the Wellcome Trust and the University of York via the Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders (C2D2), ICMHSR researcher Meredith Newlin and colleague  Dr Susie Whitwell from King’s Centre for Global Health, visited Sierra Leone in July 2013 to explore how social interventions can help to meet the needs of people with mental health problems. Preliminary findings from the feasibility study indicated significant need for psychosocial skill training to strengthen the care available to adults with mental health problems.  Feedback on the adaptation of the CPI was positive and will continue in the second phase of our work in Sierra Leone.

Training Community Health Officers in Bo

Training Community Health Officers in Bo

The second phase of the research, funded by the Maudsley Charity, will be to continue building an evidence base for the translation of social interventions to low-resource settings. To ensure an iterative approach we are working collaboratively with key stakeholders in Sierra Leone to adapt the CPI model to the local communities and build capacity of mental health workers through a co-produced training programme.

Back in the UK, C2D2 are funding the creation of a short film about this project which will be premiered at our next ICMHSR seminar on 26th September when Meredith will talk about her recent trip to Sierra Leone. More information about this free seminar can be found on our events page.

Welcome to the ICMHSR blog

Welcome to the blog of the International Centre for Mental Health Social Research (ICMHSR) at the University of York.

ICMHSR is a new research centre which brings together researchers from around the world to undertake a unique research programme applying social science to mental health practice.

This blog provides updates about our work and encourages discussion about it. We welcome comments on our posts as we are keen to receive your thoughts about studies we are undertaking or events we are hosting.

We will also post announcements about upcoming seminars or events, new projects or publications and any other news which we think may interest you.

Across the top of the page you will find links to our website which provides full information about the Centre, including our contact details.

If you are interested in our work, please follow the blog and you will receive new posts via email.

Thank you!