La Paz and Chuquisaca
Maternal and child mental health – El Taypi
2017 - 2019
Bolivia, the highest and most isolated country in South America, remains one of the poorest nations in the American continent with more than one million people living below the poverty line, particularly in rural areas.
Tough living conditions and extreme poverty severely affect children and young women. In the country almost one in two women (47%) have experienced some form of violence, and 80% of children are victims of violence. These issues pose significant problems to children and women’s wellbeing, putting them at risk of developing some form of psychiatric or psychological disorder.
Evidence suggests that mental health disorders are common in Bolivia. There is a lack of appropriate mental health services mainly due to the limited number of trained health professionals and the lack of community awareness and family sensitization on mental health issues.
The project is located in La Paz and Chuquisaca, where Caritas Arquidiocesana has developed a community-based approach to take care of pregnant women and children at risk or affected by psychiatric disorders and psychosocial problems. The intervention offers specific training and group or individual counseling for pregnant women at risk of developing a psychiatric disorder. It also develops adequate awareness on mental health issues for community members through sensitization campaigns disseminated by social promoters and health professionals.
Furthermore, the project aims at contributing to the prevention of mental disorders in children through processes of early detection, diagnosis and individual or group therapy carried out by qualified technical project staff.
Schools are the main entry point to assess if children live in conditions of abuse. For this reason, teachers receive training to identify vulnerable cases as well as appropriate referral pathways and community programs for children in need. In schools, children, their parents and relatives participate in awareness workshops to promote protective factors in favor of good mental health and resistance.
Activities and beneficiaries
community promoters trained
professionals trained on prevention of mental disorders in mothers during and after pregnancy
women started behavioral training (mother-child bond)
pregnant women received individual psychological counseling