SEEK Group Support Psychotherapy Initiative Ltd (SEEK GSP) is a newly incorporated and registered Non-Government Organization (NGO) based in Kampala, Uganda.
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SEEK Group Support Psychotherapy Initiative Ltd (SEEK GSP) is a newly incorporated and registered Non-Government Organization (NGO) based in Kampala, Uganda.

SEEK-GSP – which stands for “Social, Emotional, and Economic empowerment through Knowledge of Group Support Psychotherapy” is an innovative mental health programme that creates mental health awareness, trains community lay health workers to recognize and respond to depression by delivering Group Support Psychotherapy (GSP).

GSP treats depression by enhancing emotional and social support networks, the ability to practice positive coping skills, and income-generating skills.

A great advantage of GSP is that it does not require ongoing input from expert mental health practitioners; instead, existing primary healthcare workers in rural health centres have been trained to deliver GSP sessions. In turn, they have been able to train lay health workers, who identify individuals with depression and treat them in the villages with GSP- in this way, local communities are empowered to take control of their own mental health needs”.

GSP for depression is the most promising context-specific tailored approach to addressing the depression treatment gap at scale, given its impressive cost-effectiveness, efficacy, and high deployment speed. This intervention has been evaluated among 1140 PLWH using rigorous scientific methods, and the results are promising. 99% of treated individuals are free from depression at 6 and 24 months after treatment. A sequential reduction in depression and improvement in ART adherence led to a significant improvement in viral load suppression.

Dr. Nakimuli says that “PLWH participating in the SEEKGSP program will be less likely to transmit the HIV virus to others”. These results have led the Ministry of Health AIDS control program and implementing partners in HIV Care to adopt the SEEKGSP programme, and are currently scaling it to all HIV care centres in the country as part of the ongoing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) integration into routine HIV Care.

To date, the SEEKGSP program has trained 1000 health workers across 20 districts in northern, central, and western Uganda on how to deliver GSP. Future plans include the provision of continuous mentorship and support to trainees and the replication of the programme in rural communities in other African countries.

The program has been supported by Grand Challenges Canada (GCC), MQ Transforming Mental Health, the Child Relief International (CRI) a child-based organization, The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Health Organization (WHO) and from well-wishers. In the implementation of its services, SEEK-GSP has also partnered with several organizations which include; Makerere University, Kampala (MUK), the Ministry of Health, Uganda (MOH), The Aids Support Organization (TASO), The Medical Concierge Group (TMCG), Infectious Disease Institute (IDI), Makerere University Walter Reed Project, (MUWRP), the Uganda Counselling Association (UCA) and others.

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