Conference abstract

Adolescents access to MSF Spain mental health services

Pan African Medical Journal - Conference Proceedings. 2018:9(11).12 Dec 2018.
doi: 10.11604/pamj-cp.2018.9.11.738

Contact the corresponding author
Keywords: Adolescent mental health MSF, high flow nasal cannula, CPAP, resource-limited settings, humanitarian paediatrics

Adolescents access to MSF Spain mental health services

Cristina Carreño Glaria1,&, Néstor Rubiano Soto1, Laurent Hiffler2, Nadia Lafferty2

1Médecins Sans Frontières, Mental Health, Psychosocial Department, Spain, 2Médecins Sans Frontières Mental Health, Paediatric Department, Spain

&Corresponding author
Cristina Carreño Glaria, Médecins Sans Frontières, Mental Health, Psychosocial Department, Spain


Introduction: according to WHO, worldwide 10 - 20% of children and adolescents experience mental disorders. Half of all mental illnesses begin by the age of 14 and three-quarters by mid-20s. Neuropsychiatric conditions are the leading cause of disability in young people in all regions. If untreated, these conditions severely influence children’s development and their educational attainments. Children with mental disorders face major challenges with stigma, lack of access to health care and education. In MSF Spain, it has been set as an operational priority to increase the access of adolescents to health programs, including MHPSS (Mental Health and Psychosocial Support) programs.

Methods: an analysis was done from HMIS (Health Management Information System) in order to identify the number of adolescents that were reached by MSF Spain MHPSS programs during 2015 and 2016. In 2016, some strategies were put in place to increase the number of adolescent’s beneficiaries: inclusion of adolescents as a priority target, provision of specific tools and trainings. For this purpose the “adolescent group” was defined as 15 - 17 years old.

Results: in 2015 the beneficiaries of MHPS activities in the defined age group represented was 11%, while in 2016, the proportion of adolescents beneficiaries increased to 16%. The main reason has been the success in active detection. The main challenges encountered were: lack of health seeking behaviour by this age group, lack of specific technical skills of the service providers, lack of adapted programs and structures for this age group. We have overcome some of these challenges by organising psychosocial groups focused on psychoeducation, building resilience, in the communities.

Conclusion: adolescents and young adults are a vulnerable group for mental disorders and problems. MSF need to actively design and implement strategies to better provide them with health care.