Universities’ cooperation sheds light on mental health

2018-10-17 06:03

The University of the Free State’s (UFS) School of Nursing has received funding for research from the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

This is part of a multi-stakeholder capacity-building project to provide adolescents with improved access to mental health services and care in primary health-care (PHC) settings.

Ronelle Jansen, lecturer and team leader at the UFS School of Nursing, said the research was aimed at developing and implementing a mobile mental health application screening tool for PHC workers to identify adolescent mental health problems and provide mental health-care training.

“Mental health screening is sometimes lacking at clinic level, because the clinics are so busy.

“The nurses only get about ten minutes to see each patient and mental health screening is seen as time consuming,” said Jansen.

“PHC workers are under huge pressure due to the number of people they have to see every day and due to severe staff shortages. There is, among other things, a huge amount of paperwork that needs to be completed for each patient.”

According to Jansen, early identification of mental health problems is necessary.

“The clinic staff will be able to treat and refer the patient correctly. We hope an accessible and user-friendly mobile tool will also help to motivate PHC workers to more regularly screen for mental health problems.”

This research is a three-year project co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the Euro­pean Union. Nine universities will collaborate on the project.

Partner institutions include the Turku University of Applied Science in Finland (project coordinator), the Riga Technical University in Latvia, the Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town.

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