At the invitation of the Ministry of Health, BasicNeeds initiated some exploratory work in 2010 – 2011 in China. Following that, BasicNeeds China successfully completed a pilot project in Shunping County under Baoding Municipality. Based on the pilot’s achievements, BasicNeeds is currently scaling up access to mental health and development services in the region, and by the end of 2017 hopes to be operating in all 10 townships of Shunping County.
To date, over 5,200 people including those affected with mental illness, their carers and family members have benefitted from the Shunping project.
Here are some highlights of 2016:
BasicNeeds China began work in four new townships, Anyang, Taiyu, Hekou and Baiyun, thus covering 8 townships of the project so far. The regular and reliable running of the project’s routine activities (monthly mental health clinics, home visits, self-help group meetings) over the last year by our local Shunping partners have ensured the project’s overall sustainability. As more clinics are carried out, the news spreads, and more and more people hear about BasicNeeds’ support for people living with mental illness and epilepsy, and they, too, want help and support.
Mental health clinic
Self-Help Groups (SHGs) also ran smoothly and achieved good results. 5 SHGs were established and were given start-up funds after submitting their group’s plans for approval. 1 SHG in Yaoshan town cultivated grapes, 2 SHGs in Anyang town raised sheep and cultivated beans, and 2 SHGs in Taiyu town raised donkeys and sheep. According to BasicNeeds China’s assessments, the SHGs conducted their activities well. On 12th September, a charity bazaar was held by the BasicNeeds China team with the support of the Sixth People’s Hospital of Hebei Province for the participants of the Liang Fen Zhuang SHG. The group’s livelihoods activity is cultivating grapes and the bazaar was an opportunity to sell their produce, and raise awareness of mental health. Many people from the local community came to buy the grapes and interact with the participants – a great way to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health in society. The bazaar was a great success and the participants were pleased that all their grapes were sold. Yanzhao Metropolis Daily, a local newspaper, also reported the story.
Participant involved in livelihoods activity
In the 8 townships of Shunping County that BasicNeeds China has reached so far, carers’ lives have also changed a lot; they don’t feel the shame and stigma of caring for their loved ones affected by mental illness. Regular training sessions for carers and the patients have improved the ability of family members to provide basic treatment at home. Training was also given to village doctors in Puyang and Yaoshan townships to recognize mental illness symptoms in order to provide appropriate community mental health services.
Training village doctors
On 10th October, World Mental Health Day, the BasicNeeds China team provided free consultations and treatments to 150 people with mental illness or epilepsy. The Hebei Province Sixth People’s Hospital, the Shunping County Disabled Persons Federation, the Shunping Health Bureau, the Shunping Centre for Disease Control and local volunteers supported the BasicNeeds team to conduct these activities.
Free consultations and treatments on World Mental Health Day
The Shunping project has created partnerships, systems, training programmes and a health care structure with people benefitting from its medical, social and livelihoods activities. By the end of 2017, the BasicNeeds Model for Mental Health and Development will be operating fully in all 10 townships of Shunping County. This means monthly mental health clinics will continue to run regularly, new self-help groups will be formed and livelihood activities initiated, and annual community awareness-raising and advocacy will carry on. BasicNeeds’ local partners will be able to continue running the Shunping project themselves when BasicNeeds exits, thereby sustaining the work we have done in China.