Oct 15, 2021

The Need for Mental Health Training

Counseling practice exercise, Liberia
Counseling practice exercise, Liberia

Thank you for your support for the Tributaries International mental health program. With your help, we continue to equip formal and informal service providers for the growing tsunami of mental health needs as stress, anxiety, and depression continue to rise.

We marked World Mental Health Day, a global event to raise awareness about mental health conditions, on October 10th. This year's theme is "Mental health in an unequal world," with a focus on the gap between the demand for mental health services and access to those services.

  • Stigma, discrimination and human rights abuses of people with mental health conditions remain widespread.
  • The gap between demand for mental health services and supply is substantial.
  • Health and other frontline workers, students, people living alone, and those with pre-existing mental health conditions have been particularly affected during the pandemic.
  • The number of mental health workers in high-income countries is more than 40 times higher than in low-income countries.

We're working to reduce the gap in mental health care by training service providers in healthcare, social services, and in the church. 

In November, we will join partners in South Africa for a project led by Mercy Ships. This mental health seminar follows vocational training, restorative justice, and life skills programs which ran troughout this year in the Eastern Cape.

After that, we're looking forward to a full schedule in 2022, with training in several nations, including Peru, Senegal, and Burundi.

Thank you for making this work possible!


Jun 19, 2021

Here we go! Thank you!

Training in Liberia
Training in Liberia

Oh, how we have looked forward to getting back into live, in-person training seminars! And as we go, we go with a big smile, knowing you have supported and cared for mental health at such a crucial time! Thank you!

In our home community in Virginia, over 30 people went through the program to equip a team of lay counselors to respond effectively to increasing mental health needs.

Though training events in Peru and Pakistan were postponed to next year, we were able to collaborate with Mercy Ships for three weeks of in-person training in Liberia. The Liberia project had been cut short when the pandemic first started. Now, in a program that ended just last month, more than 120 health care workers, spiritual leaders, police, and those serving in the justice system were equipped with basic mental health and counseling skills. In addition, 86 high school seniors learned the core lessons on models for understanding people and abuse prevention. The team will soon return to Senegal, and facilitators in Togo are starting with a new group this week.

In each training seminar, participants write out action plans. These plans often include training others. We train many in developing nations who are comfortable helping people, but they are less confident training others. In response, we’ve produced a set of videos for use by facilitators in live settings where the teaching is provided, and the leader facilitates discussion and activities. These videos are near completion, and we hope to make them available to leaders in several countries soon.

Here's an example of what can happen through this multiplication of training:

On May 22, Mount Nyiragongo erupted near the eastern city of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The lava flow destroyed homes and businesses and set off a mass evacuation from the area. Hundreds of thousands were displaced, and many children were separated from their families. In the midst of this, our friends at ELIKIA DRC are working with children, using the book Baby Finds Grace to calm their anxious thoughts and stabilize emotions after this traumatic event. They were already working in the region, and were already equipped, because two years ago you helped bring one of ELIKA’s leaders, Josephine, from Goma to Cameroon for training. She returned home to train others, and you can see what a difference they are making in a region that has suffered so much. Thank you!

Training in the U.S.
Training in the U.S.


Dec 23, 2020

Rising to Meet the Challenge

The covid pandemic has caused physical and economic disaster–and a mental health crisis. Informal service providers in the community will be an integral part of recovery. 

With your help, Tributaries International is increasing efforts to train church and community workers to recognize and respond to mental health needs. 

Here’s what you make possible:

Training Seminars
Forty hours of training to equip church and community workers for mental health in under-resourced countries. Participants learn a framework for understanding people, their needs and motivations, and basics about mental health conditions, grief, and trauma. In 2021, if we can do so safely, we're planning live, in-person seminars for South Africa, Peru, Togo, and Central Asia. 

Counseling for Children
Every participant in training learns ways to prevent child abuse, and ways to help children process grief and trauma.

Follow-up with Facilitators & Hosts
We continue to connect with international members of the team, and contacts working to bring the training to their countries. These conversations and mini-training sessions help us understand the challenges they face, encourage them, and offer simple, practical responses to current conditions.

Online Courses
As demand for training continues to grow, your donations are helping to make the full Understanding People, Mental Health, and Trauma course available online. Besides the full course, we’re developing shorter offerings for stress management and special populations (such as children and older adults). This effort requires hundreds of hours on production, translation, and technical expertise.

Thank you for supporting our efforts to equip church and community workers to respond to the tremendous need for mental health care!

From all of us at Tributaries International


WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.