Skilled mental health practitioners are highly limited in most low- and middle-income countries. As such, improving the availability of psychosocial treatments is one of the priority interventions recommended by the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development (2018). The Commission advocates for the scaling-up of a stepped-care approach with an efficient triage system that employs task-sharing and the involvement of a large cadre of non-specialized workers in order to achieve a balanced model of care.
Fundamental to the success of this strategy is to develop the capacity of primary care and community-based health care staff and providers in other relevant platforms, e.g. schools, churches, or the criminal justice system.
Mental Health Facilitator (MHF) program
To support the development of capacity at the non-specialist level, we help to create a dedicated network of lay practitioners who provide basic mental health services at the community level.
Through the Mental Health Facilitator (MHF) program, we introduce basic mental health care knowledge and skills based on the curriculum of the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc, a leading U.S. accreditation body. In addition to the initial training, a limited amount of mentoring and support are available from our in-house team and international partners.
Trauma-Informed Practice (TIP) program
Trauma affects everybody, whether directly or indirectly. It occurs when we are overwhelmed by events or circumstances and respond with intense fear, horror, and helplessness. Common traumas include accidents and natural disasters; physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; childhood abuse or neglect; war and other forms of violence; grief and loss; witnessing acts of violence; or cultural, intergenerational, and historical trauma.
Even though so many people are affected, we frequently forget that someone we meet, speak with, or support may have experienced trauma. In many cases, we don’t even recognize it.
Trauma-informed practice enables us to keep the sensitivities and vulnerabilities of people who may be trauma survivors in mind. We learn to be respectful, acknowledging, and understanding. More generally, we create and promote environments of healing and recovery.
We work with institutions and organizations such as schools to develop trauma-informed service systems and practice.
Typically, there are four stages to becoming a trauma-informed system: trauma-aware, trauma-sensitive, trauma-responsive, and trauma-informed. In the process, participating individuals learn to understand trauma, its effects, and survivor adaptations, and to enable changes in behavior and to strengthen resilience and protective factors. At the system level, the culture – including all work practices and settings – changes to reflect a trauma-informed approach.