Integrating mental health management into empowerment group sessions for out-of-school adolescents in Kenyan informal settlements: A process paper

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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This article presents processes for developing contextualized training procedures to better appreciate partnership, capacity-building experiences, and specific implementation challenges and opportunities for mental and public health teams. The program enrolled 469 out-of-school adolescents to participate in the integration of youth mental health into health and life-skill safe spaces. The teams utilized various methods to achieve process outcomes of restructuring and adapting curricula, training youth mentors, and assessing their self-efficacy before integrating the intervention for 18 months. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic became an additional unique concern in the preliminary and the 18-month implementation period of the program. This necessitated innovation around hybrid training and asynchronous modalities as program teams navigated the two study locations for prompt training, supervision, evaluation, and feedback. In conclusion, out-of-school adolescents face a myriad of challenges, and a safe space program led by youth mentors can help promote mental health. Our study demonstrated how best this can be achieved. We point to lessons such as the importance of adapting the intervention and working cohesively in teams, building strong and trusting partnerships, learning how to carry out multidisciplinary dialogues, and continuous supervision and capacity building. This article aimed to document the processes around the design and implementation of this innovative intervention and present a summary of lessons learned.






Bridging the Gaps: Mental Health Support for Out of School Adolescents in Urban Slums in Kenya