Mental health

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Mental health is an area of growing concern for Merlin.

The number of people with mental illness around the world is constantly on the rise with the increase in the number of communities affected by natural disasters and conflict. Worldwide, it is estimated that 30% of people have a mental disorder, with two thirds receiving no treatment.

One in four people visiting a health service have at least one kind of mental health problem, although most are not diagnosed or treated. Fewer than 25% of those affected have access to effective treatments. In emergencies, people often suffer trauma which can make them susceptible to other illnesses.

Merlin integrates mental health care within the community as part of its primary health care programmes. We do this by training individuals and psychosocial teams. We provide basic medication and supportive supervision to primary health care workers. Finally we provide counselling skills for community health workers and patient carers.

Merlin also partners with specialist organisations who can provide this training and support referrals to general hospitals for acute care. In this way Merlin contributes to reducing stigma in communities and encouraging health staff to feel confident in their ability to treat patients. In the longer term, Merlin assists community and primary care facility health services that provide essential health services to vulnerable communities by supporting them through emergencies and building their resilience to emergencies by assisting their onward recovery.