One of the objectives of the WPA Action Plan 2008 - 2011 was to support international and national activities aiming to promote the rights of persons with mental disorders, including the right not to be deprived of a full social and affective life because of their mental health problem.
As one of the activities pursuing this objective, the WPA will fund an international project - based on collaboration of psychiatrists with public health experts, policy- makers or organizations of users or carers - aimed at exploring the feasibility and effectiveness of an innovative programme for the social inclusion of persons with severe mental illness.
14 proposals were received before the deadline of 30 June 2011, and each project was carefully considered by Prof. Mario Maj (WPA President), Prof. Levent Kuey (WPA Secretary General) and Prof. Sheila Hollins (University of London).
The WPA is now pleased to announce that the project to be supported is : Social Inclusion of Patients with Mental Disorders in South Africa – a peer-therapist intervention focused on adherence, submitted by Prof. Daniel J. Stein of the University of Cape Town, in cooperation with Peter D. Milligan and Crick Lund (Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Cape Town), Graham Thornicroft (Health Service & Population Research, Institute of Psychiatry, UK) and Ezra Susser (Dept. Epidemiology, Colombia University, USA.
The aims of the project are :
- To establish a collaborative network of psychiatrists with public health experts, policy-makers and organizations of carers and service users, in a developing country.
- To develop collaboratively a social inclusion intervention, as part of which people with mental disorders help monitor and facilitate adherence to medication by people with psychotic disorders during the 3 months after hospital discharge.
- To conduct a 3 month pilot randomized control trial comparing the processes and outcomes of this social inclusion intervention compared to treatment as usual. Outcomes will be followed for 6 months after the end of the intervention.
The WPA grant will provide an opportunity to advance mental health research in low and middle income countries and more specifically will contribute to social inclusion, to understanding task-shifting interventions, to improving treatment adherence, and to building capacity in mental health research in Africa.