CBM and Community Mental Health
- © CBM / Lohnes
People with psychosocial disabilities may be ‘invisible’, have limited access to services and may be excluded from full participation in community life. This is particularly true in developing countries, and children especially need protection. CBM and partners take a community-based approach in tackling these issues.
Psychosocial disabilities such as depression, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, suicide, epilepsy, dementia, alcohol and substance use disorders and psychosocial disabilities are a leading cause of disability worldwide. Post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychosocial disabilities can leave their impact on post-disaster communities long after the emergency is over.
The impact of these disorders on communities is large, but because of prejudice and discrimination, people with psychosocial disabilities may be ‘invisible’, have limited access to services and may be excluded from full participation in community life. This is particularly true in developing countries, due to lack of education and persistent beliefs.
Moreover, children who suffer from the stigma of psychosocial disabilities need protection because they are more likely to experience violation of their human rights. The lack of support leaves them isolated; community mental health services have the potential to bridge this gap.
- Education helps to strengthen the patient’s position within the community - it also reduces the risk of recurrence of the disability by increasing awareness of the condition and preventative measures.
- Medication - a combination of medication and psychotherapy is often an effective way to treat psychosocial disabilities.
- Family support - because feeling connected to people during one’s daily life enhances everyone’s ability to surmount the stress that might trigger depression, supportive network groups for vulnerable people are an effective method of prevention.
- Practical advice on matters such as community reintegration, empowerment and self-help groups can be beneficial.
- Livelihood development - The onset of psychosocial disabilities is often associated with the loss of a stable income. By focusing on livelihood development as one aspect of community integration, CBM empowers the person to become an active part of their families, communities and society at large.