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Peer support programs among mental health users

Promoting human rights based rehabilitation of mental health users through peer support programs among mental health users

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What problem does your idea solve?

After the treatment of a mental disease, mental health users do not get appropriate rehabilitation services due to the lack of mental health professionals and logistic means in public hospitals in Mozambique. Moreover the rehabilitation services provided by public and private institutions do not consider disability rights principles, namely, independ living and legal capacity. This situation increases the risk of relapse, promotes dependence, stigma and social exclusion of mental health users.

Explain your idea

Peer support programs have been defined by the fact that people who have like experiences can better relate and can consequently offer more authentic empathy and validation. It is also not uncommon for people with similar lived experiences to offer each other practical advice and suggestions for strategies that professionals may not offer or even know about. Maintaining its non-professional vantage point is crucial in helping people rebuild their sense of community when they’ve had a disconnecting kind of experience.
AMUSAM will develop community meetings in different communities of Maputo province promoting the rehabilitation service so that families who have mental health users at home can access to this service. AMUSAM will also straighten partnerships with psychiatric clinics to sell them this idea which is likely complete their work.
Once the family adheres to this service and the mental health user is not opposed to it, AMUSAM members will start the peer support program.
AMUSAM members will share their practical experiences as mental health users in a very interactive and informal way, inspiring the helpee and also getting inspired by him.
Attending these programs, mental health users will get tips from their peers on how to deal with the disease. Moreover, they will be conscious of their standing as citizens not only patients, they will also understand that they still can live normal lives and what they are supposed to do achieve that purpose.

Who benefits?

Mental health users who have recently been through a treatment of a mental disease and their families will benefit from these programs. Mental health users will be encouraged to participate in peer support programs developed by AMUSAM. It will take place at Maputo province. The programs will include mental health users from 15 years up to 45. We expect to reach 30 mental health users. Our main target are people who need rehabilitation services after a medical treatment of a mental disease.

How is your idea unique?

This initiative stands for independent living amongst persons who have undergone treatments of mental diseases and encourages them to explore their own legal capacity through a rehabilitation process based on the support from other mental health users. This will require a lot of interaction with families and communities where the supported persons are living, therefore it will raise awareness and help to eliminate stigma around mental issues. Mental health users will be the ones carrying out the supporting process, this will make the rehabilitation more more likely to succeed because the supported users will understand through live examples how feasible it is to get over it.

Tell us more about you

AMUSAM – Mozambican Mental Health Users Association is a non-profit organization based in Maputo City, Mozambique. The organization was found in 2013 by mental health users. AMUSAM will be the only organization implementing the program through its members.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

1-How to make this service attractive to mental health users and their families?
2-Define the programs structures

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Mozambique

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for less than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for less than a year.

Organizational Status

  • We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

Idea Maturity

  • Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it.

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