As part of its mental health promotion activities, the Aga Khan University’s Institute for Human Development (IHD) conducted a mental health literacy training for thirty-nine representatives of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) based in Kwale and Mombasa Counties of Kenya. The representatives were drawn from thirteen CSOs working in the field of mental health and aimed to enhance their capacity to promote mental well-being in the communities they serve.
Speaking during the training, Patrick Mwangala, Research Specialist at IHD said, "Through this training, participants will gain valuable insights on effective mental health promotion activities that they can implement at the grassroot level. Given the ongoing concern about mental health in society, this training will also empower CSOs to make a positive impact in the communities that they serve.”
Participants were taught various aspects of mental health literacy including: recognizing mental health issues, reducing stigma, and promoting mental well-being.
Following the training, the participants will have the opportunity to practise what they have learned in preparation for implementation. They will engage in pilot activities at the community where they will raise mental health awareness and encourage activities that promote mental well-being under the supervision of mental health experts from IHD.
Depending on their ability to apply the skills they learned, some of the CSOs will be considered for funding from IHD to support the implementation of mental health literacy programmes in the community. CSOs also had the opportunity to interact and learn from each other's experiences, promoting collaboration and synergy among organizations with similar objectives.
In the coming weeks, this capacity-building programme will be implemented in Nairobi County, targeting similar CSOs who are engaging in mental health promotion activities.
This programme is part of our Advancing Gender Equality through Civil Society Organizations – Mental Health Substudy (AGECS-MH). Funded by Global Affairs Canada, the study aims to understand the mental health needs of vulnerable adults in urban and rural informal settlements and tailor programmes that address these needs.