Counselling Associations

All Professional Bodies, National Associations (e.g. Mental Health, School, Guidance, Addiction, Faith-based etc.) and Accrediting Organisations.

Save Somali Women and Children

Somali Mental Health Foundation

Universities and Other Education and Training Institutes

Indian Ocean University

Nugaal University

Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres

 Somali Online Counselling and Psychotherapy Association 

Background & Context

Somalia is located in east Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden on the north and Indian Ocean, east of Ethiopia. Its ethnic groups include the African Bantu and Arab. Culturally the Somali peoples are nomads and semi nomads. They rigidly follow the clan based traditional behaviours.

There is no counselling practises available unless one spread awareness to the community. However, the Habeb public mental health hospital has collaborated with the several well-known local broadcasting groups to raise community awareness about mental disorders. Prepared mental health lessons are released to inform the audience on various issues such as ‘mental disorders are treatable’, ‘mental health is part of general health’ and ‘chaining of mental ill people is prohibited’. An attempt is made to try to persuade family members to bring mental disorder patients to the hospital. In addition, visits are made to public schools to educate staff on mental health issues.

For now, there are three mental hospitals. One is a public/private mental health inpatient hospital to help psychiatric emergency cases, the second one is a rehabilitation treatment centre located in Mogadishu, and the third hospital is a mental hospital established in the year 2008 in the central Somalia. 

Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:

The Somaliland health sector is largely unregulated and health professionals unlicensed. With the exception of the newly qualified, most doctors in Somaliland work exclusively in the private sector and have not received continuing professional development (Syed Sheriff et al, 2010).

Practice Settings

Only found in non-profit organisation and an online platform.

Challenges & Trends

Many African countries practice the old and traditional ways to treat mental illness, especially the countries in east, west and central Africa. Somalia is one of the African countries where people use superstitious ways to treat mental illness.

These are based on the following beliefs:

  • Religious beliefs: Most Somali people believe that mental disorder can be treated only with the help of Koran and scientific medicine is not suitable to treat the illness.
  • Cultural beliefs: Some people in Somalia believe that people with mental illness (usually depression or schizophrenia) have the special powers given by God and hence they should be respected. Still other believe that the people with mental illness possess the black magic or are evil.

There are no psychiatrists or primary health care doctors working in the field of mental health. There are six nurses (ie .066 nurses per 100,000)* providing Mental health services to the entire country. There is no psychologist or occupational therapist. There are seventy social workers (ie 0.77 social workers per 100,000) * and ten health workers (0.11 MH workers per 100,000)* working in the area of mental health.

Additional Information & References

For a deeper exploration of the counselling profession in the country, interested readers are recommended to read the following journal articles:

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