Sustainable Mental Health Promotion

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IMERSE (International Mental Health Resource Services) is working in the southern African country of Swaziland. We work to build the skills of non-­‐mental health specialists to provide basic mental health care.

About Swaziland
• Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV in the world at 26%.
• Approximately 30% of children are orphaned or vulnerable.
• Swaziland has the second worst performing economy in the world.
• There is only one psychiatrist for the country’s 1.2 million people.

What IMERSE has done
• Trained 98 teachers in basic mental health concepts and stress management.
• Held a Suicide Prevention outreach campaign, reaching 112 people.
• Trained 70 female counselors in psychosocial support and coping with grief.

What IMERSE plans to do
• Conduct workshops in mental health care skills and trauma counseling.
• Conduct art therapy workshops.
• Hold larger suicide prevention outreach events and workshops.
• Develop mobile apps about Suicide Prevention, Mental Health Care and Art Therapy.




Sustainable Mental Health Promotion
Goal: $5000.00 Started: April 9, 2014
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IMERSE is a recently formed NGO operating in the southern African country of Swaziland.  We build the skills of non-mental health professionals to provide basic mental health services.   We are raising $15,000 to put on a suicide prevention outreach event, implement four training programs, develop mobile applications to complement these trainings and provide support to other organizations working in Swaziland.

Background:


Swaziland is currently suffering from a combination of HIV, gender-based violence and poverty:

  • Swaziland has the highest HIV rate in the world (26% of adults are HIV positive).
  • Two out of three Swazi women have experienced sexual violence or abuse.
  • Swaziland has the second worst performing economy in the world.

These factors are associated with higher levels of mental disorders, yet little is being done.

  • There is one psychiatrist for the country’s 1.2 million people.
  • Swaziland has no Mental Health Policy and no mental health promotion unit within the government.
  • IMERSE is the only organization focused on mental health in Swaziland.

Suicide has become a growing problem in Swaziland.  Based on the number of suicides reported in the country’s newspaper, Swaziland has one of the highest suicide rates in the world.


About IMERSE:


IMERSE is the only organization focused on mental health operating in Swaziland.  Our past activities have  included:

  • A comprehensive mental health needs assessment involving 33 key informants.
  • A training of 98 teachers at the Southern African Nazerene University in basic mental health concepts and self-care techniques.
  • A public outreach event in Mbabane to commemorate Suicide Prevention Day reaching 112 people.
  • A series of school presentations around Mbabane to commemorate Teen Suicide Prevention Week.
  • A training of 70 female counselors and volunteers in basic psychosocial support, trauma and abuse, as well as grief and loss.
  • Support in developing a mental health questionnaire for Siphilile, an organization that assists HIV positive perinatal mothers.


For more information on what IMERSE did in 2013, please see our 2013 Annual Report at www.imerse.org/

Planned Projects:


After conducting a comprehensive needs assessment and meeting with volunteers and individuals with mental health issues, we concluded:

  • Stigma against people with mental disorders is high.  There is a need to improve basic mental health knowledge among the general public.
  • Mental health issues associated with trauma is widespread.  
  • Creative mediums tend to be effective in dealing with mental health issues in Swaziland.
  • Suicide is a growing problem in Swaziland.

Many Swazis utilize smartphones (typically Nokia, Android and Windows), and mobile applications can be a useful tool to reach a wide audience.
We have the following activities planned for the upcoming year:

  • A training in basic mental health concepts and self-care for community health workers
  • A trauma and abuse counseling training for community leaders
  • Healing through art workshops for individuals with mental health issues
  • A suicide prevention public outreach event in September 2014
  • Support for Partnering organizations including Peace Corps, Siphilile (an organization supporting HIV-positive mothers) and Swaziland Christian University.
  • The development of 3 mobile applications to complement our programs, including
  • A mobile application to support suicide interventions
  • A mobile application that teaches basic mental health concepts and self-care
  • A mobile application that enables users to use art to heal

Top Donors

  1. Anonymous - $300.00
  2. Kris - $200.00
  3. Melinda - $150.00