A hybrid training on mental health with Indian social workers and NGO partners

Dr Naveen (on the right) , psychiatrist and Selvaraj from KKID (on the left)

Finally. After 18 months this was the first health training that we could run at our local partnership campus of the Karl Kuebel institute for development education (KKID) in rural South India. The past months we could support with food kits and hygiene measurements, but due to lockdowns and the overall situation it was not possible to run training sessions with our local NGOs and communities where at least some of them could come together at the KKID campus.

Many thanks to Dr Nathan (in front) from KKID for all the support.

Also the technical set up was great. The session went very well and several cameras and screens helped to create a good training and made people in the room and virtual participants feel to be together.

“Lot of covid measures have been taken for the participants in the training hall and also in the dining. Those who completed the full vaccination (2 doses) were allowed to participate in the programme. Many others joined online. All in all we had fifty participants from our local NGO partner. About 13 participants participated in the campus and 37 participants participated from virtual mode,“ says Selvaraj. He and his team have helped to organize the on-site and technical set up as well as taken care about all participants.

As in the past the KKID team prepared some good food for the on-site participants

The topic of the training was one of the most urgent topics that we encounter in the communities: mental health. As described in an earlier post the mental health situation of the communities is really critical. The number of suicides is high, especially also among the young people from 18 to 29 years. Domestic violence has grown. Depressions, alcohol abuse and hopelessness have become more and more visible during the COVID crises.

Dr Naveen, psychiatrist at the tribal hospital and very close to our communities together with a member of our Making More Health Team have raised awareness on early mental illness signals and how to recognize them. They shared information and facts about basic mental health, explained possible measurements and included practical exercises so that the participants experienced anti stress measurements themselves and can use similar exercises now also in their work environment.

Social workers from several NGO partners participated in the mental health training

“Based on the feedback of the participants and a survey among the participants that is still ongoing we will develop a series of mental health training sessions in the next months,” says Carla. Carla is doing an internship in our global Making More Health Team and has prepared the training together with Dr Naveen and the KKID team.

Carla, intern of our Making More Health Team, was deeply involved in the set up of the training

“The social workers, the people who day by day work within the communities know the best which are the biggest issues, where more input is needed and how we can help them to be better prepared to grow mental health,” explains Manuela, leading the Making More Health community activities.

“The need for a better understanding of mental health and well-being is high. However, before defining the content of the upcoming sessions it is important to understand well the needs which our social workers have. If we empower them, they will be able to empower hundreds of people in their communities.”

As Selvaraj added: “The programme went on well and all the participants both attended physically and virtually are very happy and many have started to clarify the questions and doubts. It was the beginning of a great and very much needed experience.”

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