This summer, a mental health team from Tributaries International worked four nations, training over 200 care providers. Participants included church leaders, social workers, healthcare workers, and members of local and international relief and development organizations.
When Nepal experienced a powerful earthquake earlier this year, church leaders responded immediately to provide temporary shelter and food relief. They were eager to learn about how to help people who have experienced emotional trauma, how to better understand people and how to cope with stress. Seventy-one church leaders received training in basic mental health and illness, and trauma. Even in the midst of political strikes that restricted transportation, they found ways to be present. Training will help them to incorporate psychosocial care and referral for people facing numerous life challenges, including disasters. Special emphasis focused on trauma care following the earthquake, and working with children. Training and follow up will continue in 2016.
In India the team conducted an assessment at a home for children rescued from trafficking. While there, Dr. Lyn Westman, Mental Health Program Consultant for Tributaries, addressed current and ongoing challenges facing both staff and children. Through networking, a plan is being developed for additional training for social workers and church leaders in 2016.
In Sri Lanka, TI facilitators joined the American Bible Society and Ceylon Bible Society for trauma healing. The project included three days of training for 27 adults, who then led a 5-day children’s trauma healing workshop for 47 children. Participants developed a plan to use their training, and several continue to work with children from the trauma healing workshop.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Tributaries International partnered with Mercy Ships and the Ministry of Health in DRC to provide training for both informal and formal service providers. Participants included church leaders, social workers, and health care providers. These groups, which can often work in isolation from one another, are now talking with each other and networking to improve care for people in the community.
One participant said, “I am working in a children’s home. There is a 14-year-old girl still wetting the bed, and she gets beaten for it. Now I’m realizing this child needs to be helped. Now I return with a new mind to find a way to help this girl.”
A church leader told us, “This has helped us so much even in this short time. People have noticed the change. We no longer jump straight to prayer but we try to find the core problem. Sometimes the person’s needs are just physical. People with means have already started investing in ways to meet those needs.”