Building Competence for Effective Psychosocial Care Delivery: A Capacity Building Session in Jamaica

PAHO/WHO Organize Training in Jamaica to Enhance Community Mental Health Services

In Kingston, Jamaica on March 20, 2024, a capacity-building session focusing on Ensuring Quality in Psychological Support (EQUIP) was conducted by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). The workshop, led by Dr. James Underhill of WHO, aimed to enhance the competence of helpers in providing psychological support and improve the quality of training and service delivery. Around 20 trainees participated in the three-hour session.

The EQUIP program will be used to assess the competencies of Problem Management Plus (PM+) during its implementation in Jamaica. Since its launch in July 2022, 55 supervisors and 212 providers from various faith-based and community-based organizations have been trained and have provided support to 45 individuals in the community. Efforts are underway to further enhance the skills of individuals already working within communities.

Research has shown that individuals who are not mental health specialists can effectively deliver psychological interventions with proper training and supervision. By participating in the workshop, supervisors and providers are expected to integrate competency measures into the PM+ program more effectively. Competency-based training approaches have proven successful in healthcare settings with limited resources.

The training will enable discussions on strengths, identify potentially harmful behaviors, and identify areas for improvement during the PM+ program implementation. Training and supervision plans will be tailored to ensure high-quality support is provided to those in need. PM+ is a scalable community intervention developed by the World Health Organization, utilizing a problem-solving approach to help individuals manage challenges and adversities in everyday life. The goal is to equip community members with the necessary tools to support others who may be struggling to cope effectively.

The EQUIP program aims to provide trainers with practical skills for delivering effective psychological interventions for non-mental health specialists. It also focuses on improving communication skills between providers and clients as well as building trust between them.

During this workshop, participants learned how competencies could be integrated into PM+ program’s implementation process more effectively through better understanding of individual strengths and weaknesses.

Overall, this EQUIP program provides an opportunity for local leaders involved in mental health care services delivery to improve their capacities for providing high quality psychosocial care services that are evidence based.

In conclusion, this capacity building session focused on enhancing competence among mental health care providers through effective communication strategies aimed at improving psychosocial care services delivery outcomes while ensuring sustainability beyond project duration.

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