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06 Jul 2023

Does engaging in peer-to-peer awareness-raising have any effect on returnee migrants’ mental health and psychosocial status? A pilot study from West Africa

This longitudinal study examines the mental well-being of returnees participating in the second phase of the 'Migrants as Messengers' project over a three-year period. In West Africa, a significant number of young people migrate irregularly, facing extreme stressors during their journey. Upon returning, they often encounter stigma and social status loss in their communities. The project aims to address these challenges by empowering West African youth who have experienced irregular migration to raise awareness among their peers. Through storytelling and public exposure, these volunteers overcome marginalization, promoting self-representation, social recognition, and agency. This pilot study is part of a broader strategy, mainstreaming Mental Health and Psychosocial Support principles and exploring the link between participatory awareness raising and community-based support. It aims to provide evidence-based recommendations for future programming in this field. 

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Background of the study
  • Migrants as Messengers
  • MaM-2 theory of change
  • MHPSS mainstreaming in MaM-2
  • Literature review
  • Return migration in West and Central Africa
  • Mental health and psychosocial well-being among returned migrants in West and Central Africa
  • MHPSS mainstreaming
  • MHPSS in migration awareness-raising programming
  • Objectives of the pilot study
  • Exploratory mixed-methods design
  • Sampling strategies and participants
  • Data collection methods
  • Exploratory data analysis strategy
  • Results
  • Trends in mental health and psychosocial well-being
  • Trends in intensity of MaM-2 involvement and associations with mental health and psychosocial well-being indicators
  • Trends in MHPSS-integrated peer-to-peer awareness-raising activities and associations with mental health and psychosocial well-being indicators
  • Associations between intensity in MaM-2 involvement and MHPSS-integrated peer-to-peer awareness-raising activities
  • Pilot study strengths and limitations
  • Discussion
  • Effects of MaM-2 involvement on Volunteers” mental health and psychosocial well-being
  • Effects of MHPSS-integrated peer-to-peer awareness-raising activities on Volunteers”
  • mental health and psychosocial well-being
  • Insights from the MaM-2 MHPSS pilot study to inform MHPSS mainstreaming in awareness-raising
  • Insights from the MaM-2 MHPSS pilot study to inform future studies
  • Recommendations
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Annexes
  • Annex 1. MaM-2 theory of change
  • Annex 2. The socioecological system in CB MHPSS
  • Annex 3. Integration of IOM CB MHPSS approach into MaM-2 areas of intervention
  • Annex 4. MHPSS component in MaM-2 trainings: capacity-building as an empowerment process among returnees
  • Annex 5. Baseline questionnaire
  • Annex 6: Semi-structured interview guide
  • Annex 7. Focus group discussion guide: questions and prompts
  • Annex 8: Mental health and psychosocial support indicators by demographic variables at baseline
  • Annex 9: Intensity in MaM-2 involvement, supportive peers and MaM-1 Volunteer by gender and age at baseline
  • Annex 10. IASC MHPSS intervention pyramid