Through a ‘one door for all' policy, MSF provides mental health support to the Nauruan population, and to the asylum seekers and refugees who live on the island as part of the Australian government’s policy of offshore processing.
The team provides these services through an independent clinic, the Ministry of Health hospital and home visits. MSF will also train and support Nauru government staff to boost the capacity to treat psychological and psychiatric disorders on the island. The team will conduct outreach activities to promote the services, raise awareness of mental health issues and reduce the stigma attached to seeking treatment.
The programme was set up following a number of visits to the island over the previous two years, during which MSF identified gaps in the provision of mental health support for both the Nauruan population and the refugees and asylum seekers on the island. A memorandum of understanding with the Nauruan Ministry of Health was signed in June 2017.
During the exploratory mission, the team found that the mental health needs on Nauru were significant, and there was insufficient capacity to address them on the island. They identified cases of schizophrenia, family violence and concerning levels of depression, especially among children.