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Programs in Seed Grants

Task-sharing the Youth Readiness Intervention to improve the mental health outcomes of Somali war-affected youth in Kenya

Principal Investigator: Clea Sarnquist, DrPH, MPH, Stanford Department of Pediatrics

Research Team: Theresa Betancourt, ScD, MA, Boston College; Anna Muthoni Mathai, MB, ChB, MMed (Psych), PhD, University of Nairobi; Abdulkadir Hussein Warsame, MD, Tawakal Medical Clinic; Maimuna Issa, MD, Tawakal Medical Clinic; Zeena Khazendar, Stanford MENA Health; Unisa Jalloh, YRI Seed Team; Alimamy Rassin, YRI Seed Team

Funders: Stanford Maternal Child Health Research Institute, Center for Innovation in Global Health

Somali refugee youth living in Kenya suffer alarmingly high rates of PTSD. Researchers will use this seed grant to investigate whether an intervention can empower community health workers to address the large need for mental health services for these refugees.

They hope their research will improve the mental health outcomes of Somali war-affected youth and provide greater access to mental healthcare within the Somali-Kenyan community that can be replicated and scaled throughout Kenya. The initiative aims to provide youth participants with tools for trauma coping, positive peer relationships, and social support; improve psychological outcomes; and ultimately expand mental health programming and capacity in Kenya.

“We are most excited to hopefully provide high-quality and easily accessible mental health care to war-affected Somali youth in Kenya,” said Principal Investigator Dr. Clea Sarnquist. “The train-the-trainer and task-sharing model has the potential to expand the number of mental healthcare providers in Kenya by employing local community health workers to deliver a mental health intervention designed to be delivered by non-specialists.”

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