'There is no health without mental health'
Gede’s key objective in 2017 is to continue in efforts to deliver impact, innovation and influence across the spectrum ranging from community based mental health to policy formulation and adoption – all of which is seen as symbiotic and mutually reinforcing. 2016 built on partnership successes over 2014-2015.
Influencing national policies - Gede co chaired NACA's Mental Health Subcommittee and this resulted in further work towards the eventual adoption, by NACA's overall Technical Working Group of (Gede driven) protocols regarding the capacity building of HIV/AIDS Adherence Counsellors to screen, treat and/or refer a range of mental health conditions. This work involved a partnership between Gede and other leading agencies and included the cultural validation of a short screening tool used for depression. The initiative further proceeded in tandem with an important 6 month project which was focused on the cultural validation of mental health tools for the use of VC caregivers in the first instance. The initiative represented a significant advance on current generic models of psychosocial support given to VCs and attracted the interest of a wide range of stakeholders and was pivotal in evolving more appropriate VC care over time.
CommunityBased Mental Health - Gede’s engagement with a two year (funded) BasicNeeds UK project provided a major opportunity to develop a strong community based mental health and livelihood initiative through, initially, strengthening HIV-AIDS Support Groups in ways which generate data which can be leveraged to influence key national healthcare policies. The initiative is seen as Gede’s flagship programme in 2016. BasicNeeds is already operating in twelve countries around the world and Gede represents their first venture into ‘crossover’ projects (mental health comorbid with HIV-AIDS) and is therefore high profile and important. Gede agreed a workplan with BasicNeeds in Q1 2016 and is currently working on the establishment of baseline information in the target areas.