Project Lead(s): Trang Nguyen Thi Thu
An estimated 10% of the population in Vietnam (approximately 8.6 million) are living with mental disorders. Mental health care in Vietnam is dominated by ambiguous policies and poor human resources within the government sector.
The project developed a first-ever, evidence-based mental health care model in Vietnam that applied a positive deviance approach.
A total of 3,170 people in the community, aged two and older, were screened for common mental health disorders using the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for community health workers (the mhGAP-IG) and 77 of those screened, who were found to have severe mental illness, were invited to join the intervention. After training 13 Women’s Union staff, nine mental health support groups were established to address the following eight topics:
· Personal hygiene
· Mental health care
· Physical health care
· Rights and privileges of people with mental disorders
· Returning to community life
· Decreasing stress for caregivers.
Of the 77 participants having severe mental illness, 69 shared and applied successful positive examples. The intervention has improved the quality of life of mentally ill people in terms of their living conditions; physical and health care; basic rights; violence and abuse; and access to community activities.
The project also improved the capacity of the women’s union staff to tackle mental health issues, and raised community awareness about mental disorders Based on the cost and effectiveness of this informal mental health care model, the project has been recommended at three provinces and has been considered for integration into a national, community-based mental health care program.
Information on the project was circulated through attendance at Vietnam national conferences of mental health and an APEC Workshop to Promote Innovative Collaborations in Mental Health in Beijing, 2014.