Mental Health in Context: AVSI co-hosts the 2023 Psychosocial Support Forum in South Africa

AVSI presents 12 abstracts from its projects to emphasize the importance of mental health for people affected by crises, conflict and climate change.

Date 20.10.2023

To emphasize the need for locally designed solutions that will enable sustainable access to essential Mental Health and Psychosocial Support services while considering the socio-cultural context and existing barriers that children and youth face in accessing mental healthcare, AVSI co-hosted the seventh Regional Psychosocial Support forum convened by REPSSI (Love, care, protection for every child). Together with 25 partners working on mental health-related issues, the forum discussed innovations in Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, how organizations can collaborate and influence the design and review of relevant policies to promote programming. The event that was attended by 250 physical participants occurred in Johannesburg, South Africa between 4-5 October 2023, with a virtual option.

In communities affected by crises due to conflict and climate change, conversations such as the REPSSI forum search the social, cultural, geographical and economic causes of mental health among children and youth. AVSI shared its experience and resolutions for improving resilience and mental health, deriving its rich practice in Child Rights and Protection, HIV, Early Childhood Development, Disability Inclusion, managing crisis, and improving the socio-economic needs of refugee and host communities.

Practitioners in the mental health and psychosocial community from national governments, civil society, academia, international cooperating partners, media, local leaders, community caregivers, children and youth participated in the South Africa event that provided a platform for inclusiveness in the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support conversation.

AVSI submitted and presented 12 abstracts from its Graduating to Resilience Activity, the Sustainable Market Inclusive Livelihood Pathways to Self-reliance, Game Connect and No Means No projects, The Trust Fund for Victims of the International Criminal Court, Lilianne Fonds and Child Help International – all programs implemented by AVSI Foundation in Uganda through which successful Mental Health and Psychosocial Support interventions have reached thousands of children, youth, women and men. A children’s convention proceeded the event, where children raised their call to action for meaningful participation in Mental Health and Psychosocial engagements.