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A Motivator phone network allows people with a disability to help each other with mental health issues and right-based questions

A Motivator phone network allows people with a disability to help each other with mental health issues and right-based questions

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Maartje commented on Mental Motivators

Dear Amplify Team,
We couldn't respond to all of your questions and feedback in our application text, so we'd like to address some of it here.

How our network will work:
We built a 3 tier model to accommodate for different levels of accessibility and quality control. At the community level, the Mental Motivator will offer basic counselling to peers, as well as advice on physical self-care and linking with advocacy and livelihood resources. The Motivators will receive training on mental health, human rights and engagement. They will take different approaches with end-users, from one-to-one sessions on the phone or at home to group sessions. At the same time, with the support of the Bogra and Sirajgonj Federation for People Affected by Leprosy and Disability, the self-care groups will be encouraged to make mental health an issue that can be talked about openly and to provide support to each individual. At the project level, we will engage 4 counsellors who will be able to offer technical advice to the Motivators. They will also offer support to those users who need a higher level of support than the Motivator is able to offer. At the institutional level, the project will be supported by professional psychologists that offer quality control and support for complex needs.

Incorporating feedback and monitoring performance:
The Motivator’s performance will be monitored by group leaders and/or Federation representatives. They participate in the self-care groups and are in regular contact with the end-users, or might even be end users themselves. They are therefore a direct link if any issues arise between users and Motivators and can flag problems with the Motivator, the group/Federation, or with Lepra if needed. At the same time, the Lepra counsellor will be in regular contact with the Motivator to offer emotional and technical support and to help them in their role. Lepra will collect feedback from beneficiaries and their family members in a variety of ways to check the development of this idea. We can use story-writing/telling exercises for example, but also use pre- and post- mental health assessment tools to see how people feel after counselling.

Potential barriers to access:
During the Feedback Phase, the end-users identified a number of challenges that they face in life. They mentioned feeling neglected by their family or community, being unemployed or poorly paid, their lack of self-esteem and the lack of awareness about available services. To Lepra, the diversity of these barriers highlights that in order to have successful access to our Motivator network, the network needs to address a diverse range of needs. Mental health, social exclusion, poverty and income generation are intrinsically linked in the world of our end-users. The user feedback emphasized the importance of livelihoods and income generation for mental health. This is why it’s so important that the Mental Motivator gives psychosocial support AND links beneficiaries with social welfare support.

To make sure the Motivator network is accessible to those with hearing difficulties, we will include an option to text the Motivator and stimulate the use of emoji’s to express feelings. This would also be a way of communicating very privately for those who are worried about being overheard talking about their feelings.

We’ve also thought about the incentive for the Motivators. What keeps the Motivator ‘motivated’? The training and status they receive from being a Motivator will be seen as very valuable, but we also need to be realistic about tangible incentives. Of course the Motivators should be reimbursed for any travel of phone expenses they incur as part of the project. Lepra will discuss with the Federation if, over time, we can come up with a system in which the Motivators receive a small stipend for their services to be paid by the self-care groups.

Thank you for making us rethink our idea and be creative!

Maartje and the Lepra team

Dear Tjitske,
Thanks, I'll reach out to you by email.

Dear Gamariel,
Thanks for your great overview of a simple yet effective solution to improve the lives of people with albinism. I like how it combines practical questions (where can I get sunscreen) with more complex ones (why is my neighbour white with black parents).

I work with people with leprosy, and there is a similar stigmatization of this group of people by their communities as with people with albinism. We also proposed a solution that involves mobile phones, but we're still exploring what would be the best way to make this phone solution accessible to people with visual problems. Like in albinism, visual problems/disabilities are a common consequence of leprosy. That's why I'm reaching out to you, to see if we can share some ideas. In which ways are you hoping to make your interactive voice response accessible to everyone? Looking forward to see your thoughts!