Grants

Multimethods work on mental health and wellbeing of urban youth in East and Southern African countries

Invitation of expressions of interest 

EQUINET is implementing work using a mix of methods on mental health and wellbeing in urban youth in a context of COVID-19, to share experiences, exchange and learning from in east and southern Africa. The work, which involves dialogues,  desk reviews, online tools and other approaches, aims to convene an information/ exchange process for participatory voice of and exchange between urban and peri-urban young people on their mental health generally, how COVID-19 has affected this, where young people get support and services for mental health challenges, what gaps are perceived and what recommendations young people have for improving responses.  Prior work in EQUINET on urban health already referred to youth mental health as an area that is of rising concern but largely ignored or underserved by services. Anecdotal information from conversations with young people by CFYDDI Uganda and CMPD Malawi as EQUINET members suggest that young people face a number of stresses driving mental ill-health and reply more on social support than on support from formal services for problems. A desk review implemented by IWGHSS and EQUINET provides further evidence of this in our region.

The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified many stressors, but also presents an opportunity to understand and respond to mental health issues  from a reactive and narrow biomedical or stigmatising lens to one that locates the causes in living, working and social conditions and that requires a wider and more holistic set of community and sectoral  responses that engage with young people in their design.  The pandemic has already shown the ideas and innovation that young people bring to such responses. The work we are doing in EQUINET with partners seeks to further explore and share experience, ideas, resources and  responses directly from young people and those working with and supporting young people. admin [at] equinetafrica.org (subject: Youth%20mental%20health) (Please write to us) with ‘youth mental health’ in the subject line if you are interested in connecting on this work, with brief information or links on your work, areas of focus or interest.