In July, the Tributaries International team trained 42 people in Ecuador. Participants came from Unsíon Television’s counseling center and from local churches. This was our first ever training seminar in South America. We have wanted to bring the program to this continent for some time.
For the project in Ecuador, we addressed levels one and two of the World Health Organization’s Optimal Mix for Mental Health Services. These are the base levels of self care and informal care, which take place outside of the formal healthcare and mental health systems. The focus is on increased awareness and understanding of stress management, mental disorders, grief and trauma.
Here are some ways participants will use what they learned:
- Marriage counseling
- Counseling prisoners
- Helping women who have been abused
- Working with children to overcome grief and trauma
- Training children how to avoid kidnapping
- Helping to break cycles of violence among the youth
- Helping people recover from addictions
The mental health team worked in partnership with Unsíon Plus, which functions in the four key areas of connection, counseling (including addiction recovery), compassion (including disaster response), and coaching.
Here, as in so many places around the world, there is stigma surrounding mental health. And, though the nation has made efforts to improve care, people often have no access to services. This can be because they live too far away from services, or because of misunderstanding and fear surrounding mental health issues. By equipping members of the community with counseling skills, many more people can be helped.