Given the prevailing stigma and lack of awareness of mental illness in the region, it is not un-common to see people with mental health disorders in Edawu being chained, whipped, mistreated and becoming homeless as a result3. The Edawu Community Mental Health Care Project was established in 1996 to address the growing needs of people with mental health conditions. The project oversees a community psychiatric programme (CPP) which includes clinical practice and focus on providing in-patient care and rehabilitation for homeless people with follow-up after discharge.
Edawu has a strong partnership with ACCEPT, a UK mental health charity and the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT). Practitioner visits from LPT have been ongoing to Edawu community mental health centre in Benue State of Nigeria on an annual basis since 2004 as part of the THET established international links projects5. Over the years, professionals from both medical and nursing streams have visited Edawu and trained staff in assessment and management of mental disorders.
In 2015, Edawu devised a strategy for the early identification of mental illness within its communities following the principles of community-based rehabilitation (CBR)4. This strategy involved the delivery of the mhGAP training manual (version 2.0) through facilitated staff workshops at Edawu3 with a focus on:
- Developing a community mental health awareness programme
- Psychiatric history-taking
- Identification, diagnosis and treatment plans
The workshops took place in the span of two weeks and staff members were provided manuals and other training materials for use for future. This training built upon and consolidated training lectures from previous years and was implemented using a combination of role-playing, workshops and lectures using a total of around 20 hours of training. The staff receives supervision from its UK based partners on a monthly basis through web-based calls (SkypeTM).