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Health Action for Psychiatric Problems In Nigeria including Epilepsy and SubstanceS

The HAPPINESS Project

Thank you for your interest in our program. The goal of The HAPPINESS Project is to increase access to effective, evidence-based treatments for mental and neurological disorders in underserved areas of Nigeria by training primary care workers in rural communities to screen for, assess and manage these disorders in their communities with specialist support and supervision. Training is done with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) Intervention Guide version 2.0 adapted to the local area. Supervision and clinical support are provided using mobile messaging, video conferencing technology and when feasible in-person site visits. To reduce stigma, a major barrier to accessing mental health care, our team started a mental health awareness and anti-stigma campaign about mental and neurological disorders.

Training: To date our team has trained 36 primary care workers from 5 local government areas in Imo State, Nigeria. They include primary care doctors, nurses and community health workers. We are planning additional trainings for all 27 local government areas in the state.

Clinical Support and Supervision: Clinical supervision and support are provided on-site and through text and video messaging by two consultant psychiatrists in Imo State and trained psychiatric nurses.

Clinical Consultation and Ongoing Education: We use text, video messaging and video conferencing mobile technology to provide ongoing education for the frontline primary care clinicians and the psychiatric supervisors in Nigeria.

Awareness and Anti-Stigma Campaign: We have commenced a mental health awareness and anti-stigma campaign through local radio programs focused on educating the public on signs and symptoms of mental disorders, available treatments and how to access them. In addition, we plan to develop and implement targeted anti-stigma and awareness education packages led by people living with mental, neurological and substance use disorders.

An instructor lies in the center of a room to model appropriate positioning for patients presenting during an epileptic seizure during training for the HAPPINESS Project.
Dr. DeFrancisco (lying in the center) modeling appropriate positioning for patients presenting during an epileptic seizure.
An instructor takes photos of participants in the HAPPINESS Project training preparing to teach each other about psychosocial interventions for mental health disorders.
Participants preparing to teach each other about psychosocial interventions for mental health disorders. Dr. Nwefoh is seen in standing in the background taking photos.
An instructor sits at a table to prepare for her presentation on depression during training for the HAPPINESS Project.
Dr. Adachi (front/center) preparing for her presentation on depression.
An instructor stands in front of a room of participants during a session on mood disorders at training for the HAPPINESS Project.
Dr. Aguocha (standing on the right) during a session on mood disorders.