​​​​​Department of Psychiatry

​Research - Research Units ​

MEGA: Building capacity by implementing mhGAP mobile intervention in SADC countries


Promoting mental health is one of the main targets of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for 2030. As part of these goals an enhanced focus has been placed on the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases, including child and adolescent mental disorders, which constitute a major challenge for sustainable development. Keeping young people healthy has a positive impact on productivity and competitiveness, thus new innovative solutions are needed to promote mental health. For this reason the Erasmus MEGA project objective is to improve child and adolescent access to mental health services and appropriate care, by developing a mental health screening tool to be used in primary health care (PHC) settings in South Africa, Zambia and other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. This will be achieved by a four-phase implementation plan. Phase One will investigate the mental health literacy of PHC practitioners to identify areas in need of development. A mobile health (m-health) application to screen for common child and adolescent mental health problems will be tested in Phase Two. In Phase Three a tiered education and training program in the use of the m-health application and related mental health content will be implemented and evaluated. In the Fourth and final phase,​ the acceptability and feasibility of the m-health application in PHC centers at sites across South Africa and Zambia will be evaluated. The outcomes of this MEGA project will benefit primary health care professionals at a local level by increasing their competence to screen for mental health issues.

Annual Newsletter: Vol. 1   Vol. 2   Vol. 3​


The project is being implemented by a consortium of 9 Universities:

  1. Stellenbosch University- Cape Town, South Africa
  2. Turku University of Applied Science-  Turku, Finland
  3. Hamburg University of Applied Sciences- Hamburg, Germany
  4. Lusaka Apex Medical University- Lusaka, Zambia
  5. Riga Technical University- Riga, Latvia
  6. University of Cape Town- Cape Town, South Africa
  7. University of the Free State- Bloemfontein, South Africa
  8. University of Pretoria- Pretoria, South Africa
  9. University of Zambia- Lusaka, Zambia

Project staff

​Prof Soraya Seedat (MBChB, MMed (Psych), FC Psych (SA)​, PhD)
Executive Head of Department- Psychiatry
Stellenbosch University principal investigator (PI)
Email: sseedat@sun.ac.za

Dr Leigh van den Heuvel (MBChB, FCPsych(SA), MMed (Psych))
Study Manager
E-mail: llvdh@sun.ac.za
Dr Sharain Suliman (MA Psych Res, PhD Psychiatry)
Study Administrator/Coordinator
Email: sharain@sun.ac.za
Sr Irene Mbanga