Global Mental Health Focused Projects

Africa’s Mental Health Matters – Ghana Workshop.

This project is a collaboration between MedStar Georgetown University Hospital faculty and Africa’s Mental Health Matters (AMHM) – Ghana. We will engage in a collaborative process to (a) conduct semi-structured individual interviews, with 15 Ghanaians experiencing mental health difficulties, to inform the development of a workshop designed to address mental health stigma in Ghana; (b) co-create a grant-seeking plan to sustain our collaboration; and (c) host a workshop in Accra, Ghana designed to de-stigmatize mental health services utilization. We will interview 15 community members experiencing mental illness during Part 1 to inform the structure and specific content of the workshop sessions that participants may find most useful. We will identify and plan grant-writing activities to sustain our work in Part 2. During the workshop (Part 3), Ghanaian psychiatrists, psychologists, researchers, and Safe Circle members will lead sessions focused on normalizing psychological distress and coping with depression, anxiety, trauma, and substance use. A brief knowledge and satisfaction questionnaire will also be administered to participants at the workshop to assess pre/post mental health knowledge, perceptions, beliefs, and stigma, future support group content, and whether the  workshop was successful in meeting the participants’ expectations. Results of this work will be used to apply for future funding to support stigma reduction programming in Ghana.

Youth Mental Health Matters: A Community-Based Exploration of Mental Health in Ghana.

Youth mental health continues to be a global issue that warrants attention. In Ghana, there’s a level of complexity to the problem, as it has been documented that not only is there a rather large mental health treatment gap among the total population, the “prevalence of mental illness and its burden among adolescents is unknown on a national level.” A combination of the unknown prevalence, treatment gap, and interest in exploring youth mental health in Ghana, led to the development of the proposal. The grant award enables us to bring together Georgetown University faculty and key partners from Accra, Ghana who all have youth mental health expertise, in an effort to begin to develop a community-based, culturally-appropriate exploration of youth mental health needs and assets in Accra, Ghana. This award complements existing work that was recently funded to explore adult mental health issues in Ghana. We will build upon our existing partnership and expand our work to also focus on youth mental health. This will enable a more comprehensive exploration of mental health in Ghana. Our goals are to (a) build a youth-focused community-academic partnership that will guide the exploration; (b) host a seminar designed to explore youth mental health among key community and academic stakeholders; (c) complete community site visits and host a youth-focused community forum that will provide additional knowledge and insight about youth mental health needs and assets; and (d) collaboratively develop a Research and Outreach Plan that will enable the transition of our work from the exploration and planning phase to a research and outreach phase.