Sharing solutions, facing the challenges of global mental health

Finding care for patients with mental health issues can be a challenge in wealthy countries; those roadblocks are often compounded in low-resource settings in the U.S. and across the world.

The challenges and innovative solutions for mental health will be under scrutiny this month, when an interdisciplinary group of experts from Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia, Milwaukee and Madison gather for a learning exchange in Milwaukee and at UW-Madison. The learning exchange will begin with site visits in Milwaukee and Madison, and, on June 20 and 21, the group will attend a two-day workshop at UW-Madison.

To wrap up the learning exchange, two public lectures will be held at the UW-Madison campus. The lectures will allow the group to lead, and members of the community to join, a global conversation and call to action to improve mental health care that follows principles of human dignity, quality and a service continuum that includes community-based care.

The group hopes to build on these site visits, workshop days and public lectures, as well as past collaboration, to form an ongoing professional network in pursuit of solutions to mental health care challenges.

Scroll down to find speaker bios and video interviews.

The lectures include:

Unlocking Mental Health Care: A Global Conversation, June 27, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., Signe Skott Cooper Hall. An international panel of mental health professionals will share their experiences and insights about how to reduce stigma, improve quality and transform mental health care. They will also discuss innovative strategies such as community-based care, ceasing the shackling of patients and other punitive practices, and working to address substance abuse, trauma and mental health in an integrated way.

Speakers include: Muktar Beshir Ahmed, Ethiopia; Hafsa Lukwata Sentogo, Uganda; Ojo Tunde Masseyferguson, Nigeria; Sadat Abiri, Madison; Sebastian Ssempijja, Milwaukee. Moderator: Frederick Coleman, Madison.

A reception follows the presentation. Signe Skott Cooper Hall is accessible by the #80 bus. Parking is free after 4:30 p.m. in Lots 60 and 64. Bicycle parking is also available.

Global Psychiatry Grand Rounds— Critical Cases in Community-based Care: A Global Conversation, June 28, 7:30 to 9:00 a.m., Room 1325, Health Science Learning Center. Presenters will share innovative mental health care programs from Nigeria, Uganda and Ethiopia, highlighting community-based care, collaboration with traditional healers and reduction or elimination of punitive practices. They will feature critical cases for consideration and discussion.

Speakers include: Muktar Beshir Ahmed, Ethiopia; Hafsa Lukwata Sentogo, Uganda; Ojo Tunde Masseyferguson, Nigeria.

HSLC is accessible by the #80 bus. Parking can be found in Lot 75 (the hospital ramp) and Lot 76. Bicycle parking is also available.

About the Speakers

Muktar Beshir Ahmed, M.D., MSc, is a psychiatrist trained in Ethiopia and Germany. He has worked as a lecturer at Madda Walabu University in Ethiopia teaching psychiatric theory, outreach health, bedside practicums and supervising research. He has worked as a lecturer at the University of Hargeisa. For the last three years, he has been the director of Gabiley Mental Hospital. He has provided inpatient and outpatient services, established a system of medical records and worked with health facility management. He has a particular interest in ending stigma and the mental hospital’s relationships with both the general and religious communities.

Hafsa Lukwata Sentogo, M.D., MPH, is a physician with medical training from Mbarara University. She received a postgraduate diploma in tropical medicine from the Nagasaki University Institute of Tropical Medicine and a master’s degree in public health from Makerere University School of Public Health. She is the acting head of Mental Health and Control of Substance Abuse Division, Ministry of Health, Uganda. She has extensive work in medical care, pediatric care, infectious disease and administrative health care.

Ojo Tunde Masseyferguson, M.D., MSc, is a psychiatrist trained at the University Ilorin with further training at the Medical College in Lagos, Nigeria, and a master’s degree in global mental health at King’s College, London. He is currently head of the Department of Mental Health at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital. He has received an early career psychiatrist award from the World Psychiatric Association. His interests include the intersection of substance use and mental disorders, family support programs, training of Nigerian psychiatrists, and, particularly, the integration of traditional healing practices in the context of evidence-based psychiatric models of care.

Sadat Abiri, PMHNP, obtained her B.S. in nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also recently obtained her master’s in Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in nursing. She currently works as a registered nurse in the psychiatric unit. Upon completion of her Ph.D. and MPH degrees, Sadat would like to return to her country of origin, Nigeria, to work in the area of educating and correcting the public myth and misconception about mental illnesses and hopefully reduce the stigma associated with mental illnesses.

Sebastian Ssempijja, Ph.D., is the co-owner and clinic director of Sebastian Family Psychology Practice, LLC, in Milwaukee. He received his Ph.D. at Marquette University and is a child and family psychologist. He has more than 25 years of experience in serving diverse client groups. These include refugees & asylees from Africa, South East Asia, the Middle East and former Russian Soviet Union, as well as children, youths and families distressed by poverty and inner city suburban pressures. He consults with Head Start programs, youth serving agencies and schools, as well as grassroots programs serving the underprivileged and immigrants. He is involved in many community service and education activities.

These events are co-sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Global Health Institute, UW-Madison School of Nursing, UW School of Medicine & Public Health Department of Psychiatry, Ugandan Behavioral Health Alliance, Sebastian Family Psychology Practice LLC, Medical College of Wisconsin Department of Psychiatry, Journey Mental Health and African Association of Madison.