A large mental health treatment gap persists in low-income countries where youth are particularly vulnerable to barriers in accessing mental health care. Therefore, enhancing access to quality mental health care for youth is a priority on the global mental health agenda. This presentation will discuss the benefits and associated challenges of using a school-based platform and a task sharing approach to promote mental health among young people. We will describe three components of this pilot mental health intervention in Haiti: delivery of mental health training to participating secondary school teachers; assessment of the local burden of post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive episode among the student participants; and implementation of an intervention phase when teacher-accompagnateurs met with student participants to support them in navigating locally available mental health care. Study findings support that teachers were enthusiastic learners and that the intervention may be an effective means of reaching students with mental illness who have difficulty accessing care. Teacher participants critiqued the intervention as too narrowly focused on clinical issues and proposed that additional support be integrated to address social adversities that also undermine youth well-being.
SPEAKERS: Père Eddy Eustache
MA and PhD candidate in clinical psychology at Bircham International University, is the Director of Mental Health and Psychosocial Services and Senior Psychologist at Zanmi Lasante, the Haiti-based sister organization of the NGO, Partners In Health.
Anne E. Becker, MD, PhD, a psychiatrist and anthropologist, is the Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Père Eddy and Dr. Becker were co-principal investigators for a recently completed NIMH-funded youth mental health pilot intervention in Haiti.
MODERATOR: Mónica Ruiz-Casares
PhD, MSc, MA, LLB
Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry