Can being part of a SBCC initiative that mainstreams mental health and psychosocial support improve well-being? A pilot study.
Authors: Maggie Zraly, Marilena Crosato, Emily Cholette, Oumarou Hebie
Poster Design: Sidi Mohamed Sougou
Organization: IOM International Organization for Migration, Regional Office for West and Central Africa
About Migrants as Messengers (MaM)
A peer-to-peer awareness-raising campaign where returnee migrants empower young people to make informed migration-related decisions in West Africa since 2017. Returnee migrants (also known as MaM Volunteers) share honest accounts of their migration experiences through authentic storytelling, community activities, social media, and radio and tv.
Mainstreaming Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS)
Irregular migration journeys put migrants at risk for mental health conditions, such as psychosocial distress, low subjective well-being, low social support and stigma.
Working with returnee migrants on a social and behaviour change communication (SBCC) initiative, such as MaM, it is important to ensure that their well-being is protected and supported.
To address the gap of technical guidance on how to integrate MHPSS into SBCC initiative, a mainstreaming strategy was developed and implemented in MaM.
- Peer-to-peer awareness-raising activities had small yet significant possible effects on Volunteers’ mental health and psychosocial well-being.
- Volunteers possibly perceived or experienced peer interactions, peer-to-peer communication and community engagement as sources or resources for mental health and psychosocial well-being.
Breakdown of results
- On average, returnee migrants joined MaM with moderate levels of perceived social support from family, friends and significant others.
- Positive trend in social support can indicate that perceived social support increased.
- On average, returnee migrants entered MaM with a moderate level of well-being that trended positively.
- Higher levels of personal well-being at Wave 1, 3 and 4 could have been the effect of joy, courage and relief that could be part of telling one’s story in the context of peer-to-peer communications.
- Mean distress intensity scores slightly decreased over time.
- The distress intensity data indicates that on average returnee migrants entered MaM with a “nearly manageable” level of distress that moved closer to a “manageable” level over time.
- Results indicate that those who reported higher intensity of participation had higher capacity for functioning and coping.
- Qualitative data indicates that telling one’s migration story and sharing with peers and belonging to the MaM network are elements that helped with their capacity to cope and function.
- Volunteers found supportive peers through MaM.
- Having a supportive friend in MaM was significantly associated with higher scores in personal well-being and social support, lower distress intensity scores and higher capacity for functioning and coping scores.
Conclusions and recommendations for SBCC practitioners
- Involvement in awareness-raising activities had slight but overall positive effects on returnee migrants’ mental health and psychosocial well-being.
- There is a need for leadership in MHPSS for SBCC initiatives.
- MHPSS mainstreaming is important for maximizing positive mental health and psychosocial well-being impact in peer-to-peer migration awareness-raising campaigns and to prevent harm.