Meeting the CAMH Training, Research and Service Needs of the Region
The programme will identify and train future leaders in CAMH for the West African sub-region and beyond. The training programmes will provide learning opportunities that deal not only with knowledge and skills, but also with attitudes. This will enable the participants to appreciate the burden of CAMH problems in the region and the benefits of intervening. Participants in the programme will have the opportunity to develop skills for leadership, advocacy, policy planning and development, training, research as well as clinical work. Eventually a critical mass of CAMH professionals will emerge in the Region and this group will be a strong voice advocating policies and services that favour CAMH care and ultimately effect a positive change.
In addition to the MSc. CAMH and the Pg.Dip. CAMH, the Centre will hold regular short certificate courses targeting different groups working with children and adolescents such as nurses, doctors, psychologists, social workers, policy makers, teachers, staff of orphanages and foster homes, staff of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working with children, members of the judiciary and wardens in the social welfare, juvenile and criminal justice system.
The need for regular short certificate courses is a sustainability programme which will focus on different topics such as leadership training, policy and child rights, school mental health and specific therapeutic skills acquisition.
The Centre will also start doctoral degrees in the field of CAMH and other long term training programmes.
The World Health Organization identifies the absence of child and adolescent mental health policy as an obstruction to service development. Important requirements to address the mental health care needs of children and adolescents are accurate data, sufficient human resources, adequate training, services and policies. Research activities from the Centre will bridge the huge gap. Through the research activities of course participants on the M.Sc. CAMH programme, there is the potential for the gathering of country-specific epidemiological data about the prevalence and nature of mental health problems in children and adolescents, causative pathways, ethnic differences, service utilization, effective interventions that are culture-specific and the cost effectiveness of programmes from which public policy and services can be developed. The Centre aims to generate new knowledge in areas of CAMH.
About half of all mental disorders begin before the age of 14 and 20% of children and adolescents are estimated to have mental disorders or problems. Yet, regions of the world with the highest percentage of population under the age of 19 have the poorest level of mental health resources. Community services will be driven by both faculty and trainees and will involve the setting up of school mental health programmes, strengthening existing outreaches to the juvenile justice system, orphanages and foster homes. There will be outreach services to market places, religious settings and street children to create awareness, identify and provide care.
Advocacy programmes will be instituted to drive policy and programme implementation. Mental health promotional materials, publications and information leaflets will be a strong component of the Centre’s service in the Region. The staff of the Centre will also provide consultancy services utilizing the varied skills and strengths of this multi-disciplinary, multi-professional group of faculty and trainees.