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.


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.


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

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

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