Supporting people with mental health issues

31 August 2022

The project aims to sustainably increase the income of people with mental disorders and epilepsy (PMDE) and their caregivers and families through livelihoods provision and support. One year into the project, a baseline study has been carried out. In November 2021, 45 people with mental disorders, organized in 9 self-help groups (SHG), attended a five-day training workshop covering the fundamental skills and knowledge needed to start and make a success of their livelihoods and village savings and loans activities (VSLAs). This included advice on choosing livelihoods suitable for their skills and capabilities, as well as local market conditions. Almost 50% of SHG members chose street vending, followed by 20% who chose agricultural activities. Over the year, SHG members started saving more systematically, they introduced new record keeping processes, and developed and agreed on protocols for saving, borrowing and repayments. All groups managed to continue to grow their finances overall during the first 6 months of 2022. Between July 2021 and June 2022, 2,672 beneficiaries attended one or more counselling sessions. Counsellors also conducted home visits to the most vulnerable people to ensure continuity of care, and offered group counselling to include family and household members. 56 people were provided with epilepsy medication, 17 of these are children, all of whom have returned to school since starting medication. Social workers, supported by the counsellors and volunteers, have conducted community-based outreach sessions on mental health signs, symptoms and care, as well as myth-busting and stigma reduction, for 2,575 community members since the start of 2022.