The Law, Advocacy and Mental Health Project (LAMP) study took place between March and October, 2017.

LAMP Study Background

The LAMP study was located in Western Kenya, a Sub-Saharan Africa region with an exceptionally high prevalence of gender-based violence  and few community-support services for gender based violence survivors. The study objective was to evaluate the mental health of survivors of gender based violence seeking integrated legal services from the International Federation for Women Lawyers (FIDA, also IFWL).

LAMP Partner: International Federation for Women Lawyers (FIDA) 

Established in 1944, FIDA is a multinational nongovernmental organization with offices in 73 countries, providing consultation to the United Nations and pro bono legal aid to female survivors of human rights abuses.

FIDA-Kisumu sees approximately 200 new cases per month, the majority involving domestic violence against women. All new clients are screened by a mental health professional (psychologist) to qualitatively assess their level of emotional distress before they are seen by the legal aid team. Based on this clinical assessment, more than half are typically referred for psychotherapy before the client is seen by legal professionals.

The content, format, session number and duration of the psychotherapy vary, ranging from 4 to 6 sessions lasting 1 to 1.5 hours in length for individual therapy to 3.5 hours for group therapy. The psychotherapy content varies but always includes supportive components. For this study, participants referred for psychotherapy at FIDA completed treatment after the study’s baseline assessment and before meeting with FIDA legal professionals.

LAMP Study Design

Even if I hear somebody with the same problems,  I can feel very much free to refer them to you (FIDA), because that once somebody comes here they will leave a changed person...

FIDA client, Kisumu, Kenya

Participants in the study gave a testimony, or verbal information to the FIDA attorney for evaluation in regards to legal implications. Typically this was a story of gender-based violence. We evaluated the mental health of FIDA clients at three time points: Baseline (before giving testimony), two days after giving testimony to assess for acute stress disorder and one month after giving testimony.

Study Results

Our preliminary data analyses show decreased odds of major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder between baseline and month after initiating with FIDA.