Joseline de Lima, a single mother of two who was grieving her brother's death and had lost her job at a bakery, got help from an unexpected counselor: her hairdresser, one of about 150 women who are helping to provide mental health care in one of the world's poorest regions. Togo has only five psychiatrists for more than eight million people, and families seeking to treat a relative suffering from severe mental health issues often resort to traditional remedies or forced isolation. Bluemind Foundation organizes the three days of training. Hairdressers are taught how to ask open-ended questions, spot nonverbal signs of distress like headaches or disheveled clothes and how not to gossip or give detrimental advice. Some 150 hairdressers have so far received the honorary title of "mental health ambassador" after undergoing the training.

Read Full Story