The EU funded project in Kilinochchi and Mullaithivu improving mental health and reducing economic hardship of vulnerable women and communities in northern Sri Lanka is well into its second year and our schedule of workshops has been progressing well with different target groups receiving training on a regular basis.
We have been privileged to work with specialist local and foreign resource people, who have all shown great enthusiasm and support in improving the knowledge and skills of those we are training.
Since the first round of training in June/July 2016, workshops for frontline mental health workers have been conducted on the following topics: Gender–Based Violence, Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Introduction to CBT, Narrative Exposure Therapy and Assessment and Screening skills.
Our training schedule will continue until the end of January 2018 and further workshops are planned on Gender-based Violence, Working with Children and Adolescents, Tree of Life, Case management, Talking about Sex, Followup on NET training alongside Traumatic Grief and Working with Families of Missing Persons as well as Disability and Mental Health. We will finish our training with a special two day wrap-up session which all those involved in the project will be part of.
Up to April 2017, 20 days of workshops have been held and 144 individuals have accessed training, many attending all the training offered. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with 100% of participants stating that the content of the programme would be useful for better job performance and that the programme met their expectations.
As well as training frontline mental health workers, workshops have also been conducted in the community with the aim of promoting support and decreasing stigma around mental health problems.
These have taken place with a wide cross section of the community including civil society organisations, parents and students as well as teachers. 1479 people have attended workshops up to April 2017 including 514 workers who work in the Civil Security departments, many of whom are ex-combatants. 17 workshops have been conducted with 100% of participants stating that the content of the programme would be useful and that the programme met their expectations.
Our field staff, Rajany and Ithayarani, have also been involved in providing support and mentoring to frontline mental health workers as well as conducting detailed evaluations on the training through evaluations of training participants as well as final beneficiaries of the project, the clients of those we train.
The Colombo based team as well as our field staff in Kilinochchi have worked hard to adapt training to the needs of the participants as well as building strong relationships with the communities we are working with.
Katherine de Kretser