Updated Jul 09, 2020

Social, Emotional and Economic empowerment through Knowledge of Group Support Psychotherapy content (SEEK-GSP)

Part of Makerere University

https://www.seek-gsp.org/

Etheldreda Nakimuli-mpungu

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Group support psychotherapy is a culturally sensitive and highly cost-effective first line intervention for depression and other common mental health problems in rural populations with gender-based violence & can be delivered by lay health workers.

The development of GSP involved focus group discussions with community members to identify perceptions of depression, local strategies used to deal with depression, and opinions on what would be the most culturally acceptable components of a group support psychotherapy intervention to alleviate depression symptoms in HIV-affected adults. On the basis of the findings from these two activities, a ...
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The development of GSP involved focus group discussions with community members to identify perceptions of depression, local strategies used to deal with depression, and opinions on what would be the most culturally acceptable components of a group support psychotherapy intervention to alleviate depression symptoms in HIV-affected adults. On the basis of the findings from these two activities, a manual for implementation of the 8-week group support psychotherapy intervention was developed by the investigating team. GSP is delivered in eight sessions held weekly, lasting 2–3 h each. Participants are divided into gender specifc groups of 10–12 participants. Intervention facilitators are of the same gender as the participants, and they deliver the intervention material following a scripted intervention manual. Participating in GSP sessions leads to acquisition of knowledge and skills that enhance social connections, emotional and social support. Also, participants learn how to cope better with adverse situations and stigma. Practising these new skills leads to a reduction in depression symptoms. The absence of depression improves ability to work and obtain savings and other livelihood assets. The pursuit of livelihoods helps restore the dignity and independence of those affected by depression, thereby leading to a further reduction in stigma, which, in turn, would sustain reduction in depression symptoms and improvement in functioning.
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Stage 4: Transition to Scale

This innovation has been successfully implemented in three districts (Gulu, Kitgum and Pader) in northern Uganda. Results are published in the Lancet Global health journal https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32035035/

Focus Areas:

Mental Health, Gender-based Violence, HIV/AIDS and 2 MoreSEE ALL

Mental Health, Gender-based Violence, HIV/AIDS, Economic Empowerment and Youth Engagement and ContributionSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Uganda

UgandaSEE LESS

1
Key Partner
1
Country Implemented In
5,000
Customers
8
Employees
$1,132,000
Funds Raised to Date
Verified Funding
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Problem

350 million people suffer from depression worldwide, 7 out of 10 of those people are living in poverty without access to first-line psychological treatments. The Group support psychotherapy (GSP) aims to narrow the treatment gap for depression in rural populations including those affected by gender-based violence. GSP is a culturally sensitive, highly cost-effective first line psychological treatment for depression & other common mental health problems & can be delivered by lay health workers.

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Solution

One of the major advantages of the SEEK-GSP programme is that it does not require ongoing input from expert mental health practitioners. Instead, primary health care workers in rural health centres are trained to deliver the GSP sessions. In turn, they are able to train lay health workers to identify individuals with depression and treat them through village-based weekly GSP sessions – thus empowering local communities to take control of their own mental health needs.

Target Beneficiaries

The SEEK GSP program is working within existing health systems to treat depression in vulnerable rural communities including those affected by gender based violence. The program trains lay health workers to identify the symptoms of depression and to deliver GSP sessions to the affected persons in the villages . Participants are empowered emotionally, socially, and economically. This innovation is helping people who have depression to access treatment that otherwise wouldn’t have been available.

Mission and Vision

Our Mission and vision is to provide culturally appropriate and cost-effective mental health treatments to save and improve lives of those affected by depression by empowering African communities socially, emotionally and economically. In so doing, the SEEK-GSP program will reduce inequalities between rural and urban areas and also promote decent work and economic growth in rural communities.

Competitive Advantage

Existing solutions for depression are being rolled out among women only because they are neither attractive nor effective in men. Group support psychotherapy attracts both males and females. Therefore, its integration into existing health care platforms may confer value, particularly in engaging violent men ; thereby improving the health of the entire community. Further, GSP is not only effective against depression in the long term but also reduces post-traumatic stress symptoms, hazardous alcohol use(a risk factor for GBV), improves ART adherence and viral suppression and is highly cost-effective in primary care settings. GSP has a high level of engagement, with 80% of participants completing all eight sessions. GSP has been evaluated using rigorous scientific methods and participants have been followed up for one year and results confirm that the beneficial effects of GSP are sustained in the long term. Detailed results can be found here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32035035/

Planned Goals and Milestones

Currently we are disseminating results from the large scale evaluation and looking for partners to scale up the innovation to more vulnerable populations and other African communities. We have had discussions with potential funding partners e.g. CRI Foundation. We are having discussions with Africa Mental Health Foundation, Kenya University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and University of Limpopo, Pretoria in South Africa who have expressed interest in implementing GSP
Funding Goal1,000,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted1,000,000
New Implemented CountriesKenya, South Africa
Recruit3 Country Directors, 5 program officers, 30 research assistants, 500 community health workers
New Featureadapt group support psychotherapy for youth (10-18 years)

The Team Behind the Innovation

Etheldreda Nakimuli-Mpungu, MMED (Psych), PhD. James Okello, MMED Psych, PhD. Ministry of health officials: Dr. Sheila Ndyanabangi (deceased) Dr. Hafsa Lukwata, (now acting National Mental Health Cordinator. Technical advisors include Prof. Seggane Musisi FRCP(c), Prof. Ramin Mojtabai, MD, PhD, Prof. Edward J Mills, PhD, Prof.Jean Nachega, MD, PhD. Implementing partners: The AIDS Support Organization(TASO). Funding partners: MQ Transforming Mental Health and Grand Challenges Canada.

Milestone

Feb 2016
Feb 2016
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
May 2014
New Country Implemented In
Uganda

Supporting Materials

HEIASnapshot-UgandaGSP-final.pdf
GSP-Lancet-publication.pdf
GSP-Lancet-Global-Health-2020-orientation-null.pdf