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Child and Adolescent Mental Health Activities in Sierra Leone

The four trained CAMH nurses in Sierra Leone contributed immensely giving psychosocial support to Ebola orphans and victims of the recent flood in the country. Following the September 16 2015, flood, two CAM
H Nurses Mohamed James Koroma and Edwin S Johnny Provided psychosocial support to flood victims during their two
months stay at the National Stadium. Two of the CAMH nurses (Mohamed James Koroma and Bomposseh Kamara) have been attached to the Ola During Children’s Hospital (the country’ main pediatrics referral hospital) providing psychosocial support to children and adolescents affected by stressful and damaging experiences such as child abuse, Ebola Virus disease, care givers of children with terminal conditions, as well as training and supporting clinical staff about CAMH and engaging with children. We are working with the Ministry of Health and other partners trying to set up a Child and Adolescent Mental Health service in Sierra Leone. Dr. Anna Walder, a Psychiatrist Kings’ College Partnership in Sierra Leone is in support of this idea. We have held several meetings to discuss about what the service will look like and how to ensure that it addresses the wide ranging needs of the young people. We want to ensure that it is a multidisciplinary and multispectral service that addresses psychosocial support as well as mental illness, as they are inextricably linked. A proposal titled” Needs assessment for a mental health service in post Ebola Sierra Leone” has been drafted for the above purpose. The four CAMH Nurses will be the principal investigators. Plans for the New Year 2016 include: out reaches to orphanages, schools, and juvenile homes; raising awareness of CAMH, research and psychosocial support

Psychosocial Support to Ebola Orphans
Working in partnership with the Miniastry of health and the Psychiatrist & Mental Health Coordinator, King’s Sierra Leone Partnership in the person of Dr Anna Walder CAMH Nurse M J Koroma is providing psychosocial support to ebola orphans and behavioral training to care givers of Ebola orphans with challenging behaviours. Below is a picture of a 12 year old Grace a lone survivor of the ebola virus disease in her family but developed complications. She has intellectual disability, she is blind, partially deaf and cannot communicate verbally. Grace presented challenging behaviours; for which training was provided for the care givers employed by Partners in Health; a Non Governmental Organization.

Psychosocial support to flood victims 13,000 persons had been registered by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs.

Contributed by Mohammed Koroma

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Community engagement workshops

A total of 170 different workshops were conducted across several sites all over Egypt in the course of the campaign, with about 4800 attendees cumulatively.

  1. Workshop for parents: This aimed to help them understand more about ADHD and to teach them how to help their children by playing simple interesting games. It was also an interactive forum that allowed them to ask questions and share experiences with the audience.
  2. Workshop for teachers: This provided a practical overview of ADHD and associated executive function problems as well as how such children may have difficulties with usual class routines. It also availed them with practical solutions to help such students in their classes and schools.
  3. Workshop for children: This aimed to simplify the meaning of ADHD and practical tips about how to increase your attention and decrease impulsivity for affected children. It also aimed to decrease stigma and bulling against children with ADHD, by promoting better understanding.
  4. Media Campaigns: Many radio channels and newspapers covered the activities of the ADHD awareness promotion month in Egypt especially the Italian circus event.
    Social media also played a critical role as we connected through our official page to advertise and mobilize for the events; and to provide answer to questions about ADHD from a wide and diverse audience – including those who could not physically attend any of the events.

Conclusion: Innovative and engaging activities to promote awareness and reduce stigma can be made into fun activities that will not only pass across the message but also entertain and leave participants with positive memories.

Contributed by Dr. Eman Gaber (Egypt)

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Egypt’s ADHD Awareness Campaign 2015

For the fourth consecutive year the General Secretariat of Mental Health and Addiction, of the Ministry of Health and Population held a campaign from 24th to 30th October to help raise awareness about ADHD across the country.

The campaign involved multiple dimensions including different types of workshops for parents, teachers and children at schools, social club, hospitals as well as distribution of 10,000 flyers. An awareness video in Arabic language was also produced and made available on our YouTube channel.

Due to the welcome demand and several invitations to host the workshop in several places, the campaign was extended for an additional week, in order to cater to as many invitations as possible.

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