In honor of Mental Health Awareness Week and Depression Awareness Month, I interviewed Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell,  an associate research professor of Global Health in DGHI whose research focuses on positive mental health, clergy health, and the integration of care within health systems.

In 2007, Proeschold-Bell founded the Clergy Health Initiative, a program developed to improve health outcomes among the clergy of North Carolina. In their first study, they performed a longitudinal survey of nine Methodist churches in North Carolina to determine the clergy’s health status. It was found that the clergy had a far higher obesity rate (41%) than the rest of North Carolina (29%). High rates of chronic disease associated with overweight/obese individuals were also present. The most interesting find, though, was that depression rates were double that of the regional average. Why?

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Chris Gray and the POFO team recently published the article Potentially traumatic experiences and sexual health among orphaned and separated adolescents in five low- and middle-income countries in AIDS Care.

Overview:

Orphans and separated children (OSC) are a vulnerable population whose numbers are increasing, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. As younger orphans enter adolescence, their sexual health and HIV-related risk behaviors become key considerations for their overall health. Their high prevalence of exposure to potentially traumatic events (PTEs) put OSC at additional risk for adverse sexual health outcomes. This study highlights the need for caregivers, program managers, and policymakers to promote condom use for sexually active OSC and identify interventions for trauma support services. Orphans living in family-based care may also be particularly vulnerable to early sexual debut and unprotected sexual activity.

 

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Radical decision to close down country’s 34 institutions has been fraught with difficulties.

“Kathryn Whetten, a professor at Duke University in the US, followed 1,357 children in institutions, and 1,480 in families in Ethiopia and Tanzania, to compare the effect of living in orphanages with family care.

Whetten published her conclusions in the scientific journal PLOS ONE in 2014, saying that without substantial improvements in care and support, placing children back with families will not significantly improve their welfare.”

Please click here to read this article.

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