New guide strengthens voices of organisations of persons with psychosocial disabilities

News | February 21, 2024

On 28th February, the CBM Global Community Mental Health (CMH) team will launch a Guide that explores the efforts of CBM Global in strengthening the capacity of organizations of persons with psychosocial disabilities (OPDs), shedding light on the challenges faced by people with psychosocial disabilities and efforts being made to support their meaningful participation and inclusion in society on an equal basis with others. The Community Mental Health Good Practice Guide: Strengthening the voice of Organizations of Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities is based on learnings from experiences in Africa and Asia.

The Guide acknowledges that people with psychosocial disabilities and their representative organizations are often marginalised and excluded not only in development and humanitarian processes but also within their communities. It’s also worth noting that most countries have fewer (or sometimes no) representative groups, and are often not represented within the cross-disability movement, national federations, and mainstream organizations.

The Guide further provides perspectives and approaches from CBM Global’s OPD strengthening work in Africa (Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Kenya) and Asia (Bangladesh, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, and the Philippines). This is based on learning exercises that were established in collaboration with OPDs of people with psychosocial disabilities to explore how to strengthen the participation of OPD partners so they can better achieve their priorities.

CBM Global also reached out to OPDs who have not worked much on psychosocial disability-related themes to ensure the inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities in all disability-focused work. In some countries, where OPDs of persons with psychosocial disabilities could not be identified, CBM Global engaged directly with members of self-help groups or individuals with lived experience.

“Strengthening the capacity of OPDs representing people with psychosocial disabilities to facilitate their meaningful participation in programmes design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation which has historically been less common is consistent with international human rights best practices,” says Michael Njenga, CBM Global Africa Regional Mental Health Advisor, adding that many of these OPDs are not homogenous and represent diverse lived experiences of their members and vary in terms of size, structure, capacities, and resources.

For the CMH team, OPDs remain key partners, both those working solely in mental health and psychosocial disability and those working more broadly in the disability sector. Indeed, organizational strengthening at country level and the strengthening of OPDs is central to the work of the Community Mental Health team.

“The Guide highlights the importance of partnerships and collaboration in achieving meaningful change and promoting the rights of people with psychosocial disabilities,” says Angelica Chiketa, CEO/Founder of Zimbabwe OCD Trust/Co-Founder/Chairperson National Association of Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities in Zimbabwe. She adds that the Guide is an important way to amplify the voices of persons with psychosocial disabilities. “By sharing their stories and perspectives, we can work together to create a more inclusive and compassionate society that values the diversity and contributions of all its members.”

“The Guide is very enriching, the person with the mental health condition and psychosocial disabilities is at the core of this report,” said Devkota Matrika Executive Director, KOSHISH, Nepal.

Join the online launch of our new Good Practice Guide on 28 February, 11:00 AM UK Time. Register here:  

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