Child mental health and neurodevelopmental disorders in Sierra Leone: a mixed methods study
Sierra Leone has been burdened by a twelve year civil war and recent Ebola-virus outbreak. Such ‘population shocks’ with their attendant mortality, morbidity and societal disruption exacerbate chronic effects of poverty, limited resources, and poor governance. Half of Sierra Leone’s population are children; whilst mental health research has focused on increased internalised and externalised psychological distress in child soldiers, little attention has been given to mental health and neurodevelopmental problems in the child population overall.
Tope’s proposed project aims to produce both qualitative and quantitative evidence on country and culture-specific mental health and neurodevelopmental disorders. This will increase the depth of understanding and management of these disorders in Sierra Leone. The following research questions will be addressed: What is the prevalence of mental health and neurodevelopmental disorders amongst children living in Sierra Leone? What are the major risk and protective factors for these disorders? How do children’s caregivers and local stakeholders (e.g. policymakers, health professionals, educators, religious leaders and traditional healers) perceive these disorders? For caregivers, what are the help seeking behaviours and barriers to support seeking? What is the current service provision and what are the most prominent unmet needs?
2 – Life Course, Psychology, & Health