Mental Health Program
The mental health work of IAM started in 1996 in Herat as a response to the high suicide rate among the women of the region. At that time there was hardly any awareness and understanding of mental health issues neither in the society nor among government officials. Meanwhile the Afghan Ministry of Public Health had declared mental health care as one of its priorities.
The goal of the Mental Health Program is to “contribute to the efforts of Afghan Government and the private sector to improve the mental health of the Afghan people”.
The Programme aims to build the capacity of professional medical staff and to raise the awareness about mental health problems in communities.
Since 2006, IAM´s mental health program has systematically trained all primary health care providers (i.e. community health supervisors, nurses/ midwives and doctors) throughout the Western Region to carry out mental health services in the health facilities. The program has also focused on training non-medical professionals (like teachers and religious teachers) in the Western and Northern Region, producing TV, radio programs, and publishing a quarterly magazine to raise awareness about mental health matters.
Over the years the Mental Health Programme has expanded and now runs in three different capacities: Mental Health Training Centre-Herat, which functions as an outpatient clinic, where doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals recieve further training in mental health, Community Mental Health Project-Herat, which focuses on educating the larger public about mental health issues, and the Mental Health Training Centre-Mazar, which is an extension of the work that has been going on in western Afghanistan, expanding to the north.