Project Examines Mental Health Care Training in South Africa
It is almost impossible to imagine the long-term psychological problems faced by the over 16 million orphans and vulnerable children in the global society, difficult to conceptualize their sense of loss and sadness. One thing, however, is universally understood: Sensitive and responsive caregiving leads to positive outcomes, both intellectually and on a social and emotional basis, for all children.
For that reason, University of Houston professor of psychology Carla Sharp, with collaborators at the University of the Free State in South Africa and Michigan State University, is embarking on a five-year study to evaluate the effectiveness of the Mediational Intervention for Sensitizing Caregivers (MISC). The intervention gives caregivers the confidence to lift the socioemotional and cognitive skills of children in their care, according to Sharp.
The work is underwritten by a $1.7 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health and will take place in South Africa where there are between 2-4 million orphans and a crisis in scarcity of mental health workers.