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Home arrow Language & Literature arrow The Palgrave Handbook of Sociocultural Perspectives on Global Mental Health
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School-Based Restorative Mental Health Services

Despite promotion- and prevention-focused mental health programmes, a few children will still need restorative interventions. Very recently, some studies have started to evaluate, on a rather small scale, school-based psychological interventions for common emotional and behavioural problems in Nigeria. Abdulmalik (2014) found that a two-week group-based problem-solving psychological intervention produced significant symptom reduction in symptoms (Cohen’s effect size: 1.2) among a cohort of primary school pupils in Ibadan, Nigeria. Similarly, Bella-Awusah (2014) also found a significant symptom reduction among depressed children and adolescents after a behav- ioural/problem-solving intervention. A key finding in these studies is the high level of satisfaction with the intervention but a preference for the service being provided by school personnel outside the school premises. This preference was borne out of wish for privacy and less interference with schoolwork.

School psychologists, social workers and guidance counsellors can be trained to provide behavioural and psychological interventions after school hours. In line with Foster et al. (2005), the school district can also establish a linkage with existing child mental health services in the community where mental health professionals and school personnel can provide further service and share resources. This will engender more collaborations between school-based and community mental health service providers. Collaborative- school and community-based child mental health and social services are being adopted in some African countries like Tunisia and Egypt where SBMHPs are gradually taking hold (Gaddour 2007).

Situating SBMHPs Within Existing Framework for SHPs

SHPs are gradually being established and taking hold in Nigeria. Therefore, rather than embark on any ambitious effort at establishing a parallel SBMHP, a key strategy for a sustainable programme in Nigeria is to situate the SBMHP within the current existing framework for SHPs in the country. Because of the potential obscurity of child mental health issues in this region (Omigbodun 2009), it is important to situate child mental health initiatives within the general focus of school child health policy. This will ensure that the programmes grow together. In developing countries like Nigeria, it has been recommended that all child-focused programmes be intercalated to ensure resource sharing (Lund et al. 2008). Therefore, we recommend an approach in which mental health components are incorporated into all the components of SHPs in Nigeria.

 
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