Oct 2, 2019

Report from Ecuador

Thank you for supporting mental health training programs. You are helping to strengthen national health systems, and bringing hope to thousands of people each year!

Earlier this year, the team was in Cuenca, Ecuador for our first ever seminar in South America. Forty-two participants were equipped with basic mental health and counseling skills. As in so many places around the world, there is stigma here surrounding mental health. 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.

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
  • To help break cycles of violence among the youth
  • Helping people recover from addictions

Your support makes this important training possible - THANK YOU!


Aug 5, 2019

Report from Senegal

In this video, Rev. Waly Sarr, National President of Assemblies of God in Senegal, shares what he believes mental health training will do for the people of his nation. 

"I want to give an example," he says. "Sometimes there is a disease. And because we are spiritual, we just see demons there. And we always cast [out] demons. But his condition doesn't change. The person suffers, but we continue casting out demons. But this training has changed our mentality, our perspective. For that, I want to say 'Thank you' to all of you."

Watch the full video (4 mins).

Ninety-six participants took part in the mental health training program this year in Dakar, Senegal. The program was a function of the Mercy Ships Mental Health Program, with Tributaries International collaborating.

We are equipping informal service providers (those who work outside of the formal mental health system) to recognize and respond to mental health needs in the community. Participants learn about common and severe mental disorders, and how stress, grief, trauma, and crisis affect the whole person. With this knowledge, basic counseling skills, and compassion, these individuals can bridge the gap between needs and available treatment.

Senegal has nearly 15 million people, with 0.62 mental health workers per 100,000 of the population (the United States has 272 mental health workers per 100,000 people). This means it is likely a high percentage of people who need treatment will not get it.

The good news is trained informal community workers can reduce stigma (fear and misunderstanding), and bring appropriate interventions. This reduces the strain on higher levels of care, and reduces the cost of treatment while making care available to more people.

Thank you for tackling this important need!

Participants also help teach!
Participants also help teach!


May 7, 2019

It's Time to Care for Mental Health


“The training is like light coming into the darkness. We understand things we knew nothing about.”

The United Nations and the World Economic Forum have proposed that mental health is among the most pressing issues of our day. Yet, according to the World Health Organization, "In low- and middle-income countries, between 76% and 85% of people with mental disorders receive no treatment for their disorder."

The good news is, most people can be helped with counseling. This is why we focus on training for informal providers: church leaders, healthcare workers, social workers, teachers, house parents... Who do people go to when they have a problem? These are the people we train to recognize and respond to mental health needs. They learn basic mental health and counseling skills, relationship building strategies, and when to refer to a higher level of care.

Earlier this year the mental health team trained house parents and staff from New Hope for Orphans and South East Asia Prayer Center. NHO cares for nearly 500 children across Cambodia. 

“We’ve needed this for a long time,” says Tina Tomes, Raising Kids Director for SEAPC. In a survey of house parents last year, they had indicated mental health and child safety training as top priorities. We will return to Cambodia for an extended period to train and mentor a local team. That team will bring the training to teachers and staff at schools throughout Banteay Meanchey Province, and beyond.

West Africa
Continuing in collaboration with Mercy Ships, over 90 church leaders were trained in Senegal. Eight participants trained in the first week then helped to facilitate in the second week of training. In addition, the video training series recorded last year is being edited. Recorded in Cameroon with a multinational team, local facilitators can use these videos to expand into new areas. We’re excited about the possibilities! 

In June the team heads to Ecuador for our first ever seminar in South America. We expect around 70 participants in the program there. 

Thank you for making mental health training possible! You are bringing understanding and hope to people all around the world!



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