Mental Health: UNFPA Trains Doctors, Social Workers


The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Tuesday, begun a five-day training of trainers on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) for Gender-Based Violence Survivors (GBVS) amidst COVID-19 and insecurity.

Ms Mariama Darboe, Programme Coordinator and Head of Office, UNFPA Decentralized Office for Northern Nigeria, made this known on the sideline of the event in Kaduna.

Darboe said that the participants consisted of medical doctors, social workers and frontline workers working directly with GBVS, from the northern states of Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna and Sokoto.

Others, according to her, are civil society organisations and officials from ministries of health and women affairs from the state states.

She explained that the training was part of the series of UNFPA’s interventions in support of the states, to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, especially among the most vulnerable.

“You are all aware of the negative economic and social impact of COVID-19 at the family level: reduced income, increased gender-based violence, domestic violence, child abuse and school dropout.

“These in turn impacted hugely on the mental and health wellbeing of people, particularly the vulnerable families in communities,” she said.

She said that the training was organised to build capacity and expertise in all the states on how to effectively support and work with GBVS that need help, whether in hospitals or in communities.

Darboe added that the training was designed to make the participants more supportive, compassionate, and observant in meeting the needs of gender-based violence survivors.

“We hope that from this five-day training, we will have a pool of expertise in each of the states that will be able to train and nurture others.

“The goal is to have a good number of medical doctors and social workers in the states with the needed expertise to be able to provide efficient mental health and psychosocial support to GBVS,” she said.

Dr Ibrahim Mshelia, one of the facilitators, said that the training would equip GBV actors with skills to efficiently provide gender and culturally appropriate psychosocial support to GBVS and the worst affected communities.

Mshelia added that at the end of the training, the trainees should be able to understand the concept of GBV as a potential traumatic event and the associated traumatic consequences on the survivors.

“They should also be able to identify survivors of GBV and their specific psychosocial needs and acquire basic skills in responding to the psychosocial needs.

“We also want them to be able to integrate self-care strategies when responding to the psychosocial needs of survivors of GBV and organize and facilitate larger community support activities,” he said.


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