Ebola survivors have an abundance of medical and psychological problems: musculoskeletal conditions that cause joint stiffness; ocular conditions that can lead to cataracts and blindness; anxiety disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder—to name a few—all of which require specialized medical care. More resources need to be directed to helping survivors get appropriate health care and mental health services.
JSI’s assistance, through the Health Services Project, enabled three new levels of mental health and psychosocial care and support that resulted in programming that is fully integrated into the Acehnese public health system structure, increasing potential for replication.
In Rikuzentakata, Japan, which was affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, there are many efforts taking place to provide mental health care and treatment, including for post-traumatic stress syndrome. One such effort, which has been implemented for the past six years by the Let’s Talk Foundation, has a large number of volunteers who visit the affected areas on a monthly basis to support residents.
Trained individuals with their own personal experience with addiction or mental illness acting as Peer Recovery Specialists (PRS) can be immensely helpful to those navigating the challenges of recovery for the first time. Learn how JSI developed an outcomes tracking system to document their effectiveness in Rhode Island.
A wise man once said, “Without mental health there can truly be no physical health”.
Melissa Sharer writes about two service models in Vietnam and Uganda — one integrating HIV into mental health services, the other integrating mental health into HIV services. What did we learn when visiting both these sites a world away? People living with HIV (PLHIV) benefit from services that recognize how mental health and physical well-being work together to improve quality of life. Depression and anxiety are just as common among people living with HIV as those without. And when service providers are armed with skills in both mental health and HIV, they can offer holistic, much-needed support to PLHIV.