Bridging the gap in mental health and psychosocial services in low resource settings: a case study in Sudan

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Abstract

Sudan has endured the longest civil war in Africa, with ongoing conflict since 1983. As a result, it has one of the largest internally displaced populations on the continent. The gap in care for mental health in Sudan is large, therefore, most of the people affected do not have access to the treatment they need (World Helath Organization, 2009). Mental health facilities in current day Sudan are few and concentrated in urban centres, where they are difficult to access and lack adequately trained professionals who are, in particular, lacking training for trauma related disorders. The objectives of this intervention were to bridge the gap in mental health psychosocial support services in Sudan by setting up a community based, nongovernmental trauma mental health centre providing free mental health services, in addition to mental health professional capacity building. This paper addresses difficulties and opportunities in providing mental health and psychosocial support in country torn by war and political embargo. Furthermore, it includes how to incorporate cultural adaption encompassing Afro/Arab cultures with a focus on gender and political sensitive approaches in introducing psychosocial support and specialised trauma services.

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