All Professional Bodies, National Associations (e.g. Mental Health, School, Guidance, Addiction, Faith-based etc.) and Accrediting Organisations.
Sudanese Psychological Society
- Website: No official website
- Organisation Size: 400 members
Universities and Other Education and Training Institutes
Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres
Ahfad Trauma Centre (Under the School of Psychology at Ahfad University for Women, Omdurman, Sudan)
- Website: https://ahfadtrauma.wordpress.com/about-atc/
- Counselling centers are only located at universities, while secondary schools do not have any psychological counselling and guidance.
Background & Context
The history of psychology in Sudan as a scientific and academic discipline dates back to the early 1950s, when the Bakht-er-Ruda Institute collaborated with British scientists to conduct intelligence tests. Bakht-er-Ruda Institute’s faculty, along with that of the Omdurman Islamic University, were among the first to include teaching educational psychology within the curricula. Another outstanding contribution to the history of psychology in Sudan at this time was the founding of Cairo University Khartoum Branch 1955 (Abdallah, 2010). This university introduced psychology as a part of the sociology and philosophy curricula.
In the 1960s, the development of psychology in Sudan was linked to the beginnings of educational psychology and psychotherapy in psychiatry. In 1961, Psychology courses were taught at the Department of Philosophy in the Faculty of Arts, University of Khartoum, and in 1962, the Department of Psychiatry was established at what is now the Khartoum Teaching Hospital. Moreover, in 1967, the first Sudanese university department of psychology was established at Ahfad College for Women to meet the increasing interests and needs in teaching psychology, and to qualify and train female psychology students (Abdallah, 2010).
Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:
There are no coordinating bodies that oversee public education and awareness campaigns on mental health and mental disorders. The promotion of public education and awareness Campaigns by government agencies, NGOs, professional associations, private trusts and Foundations and international agencies in the last five years are unknown.
Besides, there is a substantial absence of fields such as cognitive psychology and neuropsychology, which require experimental and laboratory facilities that are no longer available in Sudanese universities and institutions. There is also a lack of cross-cultural studies. In addition, the factors behind the low status of psychology in Sudan are complicated and multiple, but comprehensive reform of the educational system in Sudan is a key factor in improving psychology as a profession in particular, and education in general (Abdallah, 2010).
In Sudan, all mental health outpatient facilities have at least one psychotropic medicine of each therapeutic class (antipsychotic, antidepressant, mood stabilizer, anxiolytic, and antiepileptic medicines) available in the facility. However, such medications are not provided free of charge except in the case of psychiatric emergencies. Besides, community based psychiatric inpatient units had at least one psychotropic medicine of each therapeutic class (antipsychotic, antidepressant, mood stabilizer, anxiolytic, and antiepileptic medicines) available in the facilities or near by pharmacy.
Challenges & Trends
In Sudan there are many barriers to mental health service utilisation. The most significant relate to stigma, lack of knowledge of illnesses and their treatability, as well as financial constraints. Each of these barriers affects the availability, accessibility and efficiency of mental health identification, diagnosis and treatment.
For cultural barriers, Sudanese society has stereotyped views about mental illness and how it can affect people. Culture perpetuates harmful stigmas surrounding mental health and wellbeing, often leading to discrimination and the social isolation of affected individuals. For men, chronic mental illness often leads to an inability to maintain work, stymieing the ability to marry, afford food, and live constructively. For women, struggling with mental illness can lead to their family restricting their social presence and diminishing their opportunity to marry. Children in particular often face widespread abuse and neglect. The negative stigmas attached to mental illness likely prevent many individuals from seeking medical assistance.
Moreover, mental health needs are consequently deprioritised, especially for poorer, rural, and marginalised groups without access to private provision. These groups are likely to try and hide their mental illness, or to treat it using traditional techniques that increase social isolation and stigma.
Additional Information & References
For more information about the counselling profession in the state, interested readers are encouraged to read the following journal and website articles:
Abdallah, A. (2010). Historical and Contemporary Aspects of Psychology in Sudan. https://www.apa.org. From https://www.apa.org/international/pi/2010/10/sudan