Dharamsala: The mental health desk of the Department of Health, CTA, completed its first batch of training of nurses on counseling skills held from 30th August 2021 to 6th September 2021. The training was conducted in collaboration with Sangath, a mental health NGO based in Goa, India. The participants consisted of 16 mental health dealing nurses from 10 settlements.
In our community, where there is a lack of mental health professionals, training and building capacity of community healthcare workers on counseling could promise some mental health treatment service and help reduce the existing treatment gap.
This training focused on two key topics, The Counseling Relationship and the Healthy Activity Program (HAP). HAP is an evidence-based intervention, developed and tested as a part of a research program, Program for Effective Mental Health Interventions in Under-Resourced Health Systems (PREMIUM). PREMIUM aims to provide culturally appropriate, affordable, feasible psychological intervention for depression that could be provided by non-specialist health workers and lay counselors in under-resourced communities. This HAP training was given in tandem with counseling relationship training, through which the nurses learned about the basics of counseling, how it is different from friendly conversations, what effective counseling skills comprise of, how to manage crises (suicide risks, bereavement, and domestic violence), and when to refer.
The training module was participatory. The nurses learned from observing role plays by trainers and by role-playing among themselves using different skills. Pre- and Post-training knowledge test was done.
After this training, the nurses might be able to help someone with moderate to severe depression through various step-by-step intervention modules. Since depression is a rising concern globally and is the top mental health cause of global burden to diseases, training our nurses on providing care specific to depression could act as a treatment and a preventive intervention in our community.
The nurses will have three months weekly supervision opportunity with Sangath counselors after this training. The second batch of nurses will be trained in the last week of September 2021.
The desk would like to thank PRM for supporting this training.