Institute for Global Health



Starting from the bottom: Using Participatory Action Research to re-imagine local mental health services in Colombia


Project Summary  

Four years into the transition towards a post-conflict society in Colombia, barriers to the implementation of the Psychosocial Care and Comprehensive Health Services for Victims programme (PAPSIVI) and the Psychosocial Wellbeing Component in the reintegration route for ex-combatants (Resolution n. 4309) persist.

Scaling-up services is important but only a partial response; sustainable solutions require dialogue between systems and communities to improve mental health. 

In response to these demands, our project will implement and evaluate a participatory intervention to strengthen community mental health care systems in two territories which are currently the focus of Territorially Focused Development Plans (PDETs in Spanish) in Caquetá-Colombia.

We will work with local organisations Corpomanigua, a women’s community based organisation that works to enhance human rights, build peace, and increase gender equality, and The Cooperative for Good Living and Peace in Caqueta (COOMBUVIPAC).

Our primary outcome will be the implementation of an intervention which allows us to leverage and integrate different types of knowledge and expertise, including lived experiences, in the design and implementation of community mental health services.

STARS-C will innovate by integrating bottom-up, community level experiences of mental health and mental distress with institutional responses by state level actors, analysing the potentials and challenges of this integration in an intervention towards effective community mental health services.

Visit our website: https://www.stars-c.com/ 

STARS-C Webinar Series

Starting from the bottom: Debating the foundations of mental health service improvements in complex settings

Over the next year, the STARS-C project team will coordinate a webinar series that explore three areas that are key to the process of mental health service improvement, but rarely given the space needed to debate the complexities of these core issues that determine the success of efforts for service improvement: (1) Realities of community mental health systems; (2) community involvement in intervention and service design; and (3) measuring impact.

Each webinar will feature speakers from countries in the Global South, alongside members of the STARS-C team reflecting on their efforts and responses to work through these challenges. We will also include opportunities for small group discussion to allow speaks to reflect on how these topics impact their own work settings.

This webinar series is open to practitioners, policy makers, academic and members of the general public with an interest in the advancements of community led and community owned mental health systems.

Webinar series

Episode 1: Policy in the Everyday: Exploring the realities of ‘community’ mental health systems in the Global South

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcEpGRe8JmY



Episode 2: Community involvement in intervention and service design: possibilities and pitfalls

Date TBC

Episode 3: Measuring impact on whose terms? The reality of impact measures for community change

Date TBC 


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Links to other research

Other research from the UCL Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases

Other research from IGH on Mental HealthGlobal Health and DevelopmentEvidence into ActionVulnerable Populations and Economic Evaluation

Other research from IGH in the UK and Colombia