D epression is the cause of the world’s greatest burden of disease and about 50% of those who will develop Depression over their lifetime experience their first episode as a young person. In countries such as Malawi and Tanzania, where youth make up most of the population, most do not know about Depression and stigma pervades all considerations related to mental illness. In addition, lack of health care providers with skills in the diagnosis and effective treatment of youth with Depression, makes access to needed care difficult, if not almost impossible.
An Integrated Approach to Addressing the Challenge of Depression among the youth in Malawi and Tanzania (IACD) is an innovative model developed by Dr.Kutcher (TeenMentalHealth.Org) in collaboration with Farm Radio International. Funded by Grand Challenges Canada, a Pathway Through Mental Health Care for young people that integrates radio dramas for awareness and stigma reduction, linked to training of teachers and school based listening clubs for mental health literacy and training of community health workers in the identification, diagnosis, and effective treatment of youth with Depression has shown how this challenge can be met.
Combining a radio show, school programs and clinician training, the model has demonstrated significant improvements in increasing knowledge, decreasing stigma, and enhancing access to care that has shown good clinical outcomes. This approach has transformed how Depression in young people can be addressed in these countries.
This program was recently chosen as a global innovation by the Mental Health Innovation Network (and presented at the World Bank and World Health Organization summit on global mental health). It is now being used to inform further developments in youth mental health innovation, in low, middle and upper income countries alike. Its success in Malawi and Tanzania, suggest that it should be considered for scale up across Sub-Saharan Africa and other resource constrained settings globally as well.
Kutcher, S., Wei, Y., Gilberds, H., Brown, A., Ubuguyu, O., Njau, T., Sabuni, N., Magimba, A., & Perkins, K. (2017). The African Guide: One Year Impact and Outcomes from the Implementation of a School Mental Health Literacy Curriculum Resource in Tanzania. Journal of Education and Training Studies 5(4), 64-73. doi:10.11114/jets.v5i4.2049
Kutcher, S., Wei, Y., Gilberds, H., Brown, A., Ubuguyu, O., Njau, T., Sabuni, N., Magimba, A., & Perkins, K. (2016). Evaluating community health care providers knowledge and self-confidence in the identification, diagnosis and treatment of adolescent Depression in Tanzania. Archives of Depression and Anxiety, 2(1), 23-30. doi:17352/2455-5460.000011
Kutcher, S., Wei, Y., Gilberds, H., Brown, A., Ubuguyu, O., Njau, T., Sabuni, N., Magimba, A., & Perkins, K. (2016). Improving Tanzanian Teachers’ Mental Health Knowledge, Decreasing Stigma and Furthering Help-seeking Efficacy: A School Mental Health Literacy Curriculum Resource Training Approach. International Journal of Mental Health Systems 10(50), 1
Kutcher, S., Gilberds, H., Morgan, C., Udedi, M., & Perkins, K. (2015). Malawi Educators’ Assessment of Student Mental Health Outcomes. International Journal of School and Cognitive Psychology, SC2:009.
Kutcher, S., Gilberds, H., Morgan, C., Greene, R. & Perkins, K. (2015) Improving Malawian teachers’ mental health knowledge and attitudes: an integrated school mental health literacy approach. Global Mental Health, 2, e1, page 1 of 10. doi:10.1017/gmh.2014.8