Belgian Platform for International Health    ENG | FR

Be-cause health matters 14

Mental health voices from Africa: experiences and lessons learned

Why focus on francophone Africa?

Africa is a patchwork of languages and dialects. English, French and Portuguese are all commonly spoken languages in Africa. Especially at a scientific level, English dominates the field of global mental health, given the number of English-speaking researchers and publications. Efforts have been made to change this (for example translating the Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) manual from English into French).

This conference aimed to strengthen ties between the French speaking initiatives, and between the Francophone and Anglophone (and other!) initiatives. The concern is not only about using language for everyday communication itself. In most African settings, the language of the end-users of mental health projects are neither English or French, and the current attention for and debates about decolonisation underline that it is very timely to discuss how models and ideologies of psychology and psychiatry that originated in Europe or America have an influence over African (and Asian) settings.

Watch the video of Julian Eaton