Jan 25, 2019

Why Mental Health Matters, and Plans for 2019

Because of you, hundreds of healthcare workers, church leaders, and other informal providers every year are being equipped to recognize and respond to mental health needs. Let me share a little about why this is so important.

Even in well-off countries like the United States, mental health is misunderstood and under-resourced. Still, we have access to information and resources which many people do not have. Many developing nations do not have enough mental health professionals. In Central African Republic, for example, there is only one psychiatrist for 4.5 million people. 

Most people can be helped through counseling. Training informal providers with knowledge and counseling skills makes care available to more people. This is especially important when mental illness is shrouded in stigma and fear. Topics concerning human rights, domestic violence, abuse, are addressed. Often, a single paradigm-shifting thought prompts a participant to take action on another's behalf:

  • A social worker realizes the 14-year-old who wets the bed is not being rebellious, but is likely suffering extreme stress, sickness--or even abuse.
  • A pastor recognizes signs of dementia in his mother. According to local beliefs, the symptoms were caused by witchcraft. But now the pastor challenges those beliefs and helps families cope with the changes in their loved ones.
  • A community worker teaches parents of children with autism that their children are not cursed. 

Training participants have prevented suicides, saved marriages, intervened to stop abuse, increased cooperation between healthcare and religious leaders, helped people through grief and trauma, and worked hard to decrease stigma related to mental disorders, epilepsy, and trauma.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

In 2019, we're excited to bring training into new areas. In Cambodia, we'll train house parents working with orphaned children, along with church leaders in two cities. Our first ever program in South America will take place in Ecuador. We continue to pursue opportunities for training in Central African Republic, India, and beyond. With your help, we will train 300-500 people this year.


Dec 20, 2018

Regional Impact in Africa

Just four weeks ago we sat with the national mental health leaders from three African countries. All three of these nations - Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Central African Republic - are experiencing poverty, conflict, and displacement. With few resources, these leaders are all working to get practical help to the people they serve.

In most developing countries, there are not enough mental health professionals to serve the population. Mental health is not understood, and people who are struggling are met with fear and even abuse. Training for informal service providers—church leaders, healthcare and social workers, police, and others—plays a vital role in the health of a nation and its people.

This was the third year for mental health training in Cameroon as we collaborate with the Mercy Ships Mental Health Program. This year, 78 new providers went through the Understanding People, Mental Health, and Trauma seminar, and we followed up with some providers trained in previous years. In the coming weeks, we'll share more from them about how the training has equipped them to help people in their communities.

The team of training facilitators hailed from six nations. We also recorded the seminar on video for places we can't get to physically.

We believe this recent time in Cameroon will have a positive effect on an entire region of Africa. We thank God for bringing these leaders together as at times it did not seem possible. And we thank you for your generous gifts which made such a difference in bringing such a team together.

May you and your family be well and blessed.

With gratitude,
The Tributaries International Team


Sep 24, 2018

We're Heading Back to Cameroon

Leaders in class
Leaders in class

This is the third year for mental health training in Cameroon as we collaborate with the Mercy Ships Mental Health Program. In nations with few mental health professionals, equipping church leaders and health care workers for mental health makes care available to more people.

Tributaries International will help by bringing facilitators-in-training from Central African Republic (CAR) and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Tributaries will also begin production of video resources for French-speaking parts of Africa.

The region is seeing a rise in conflict and more people are being displaced as tensions rise, but the response to previous training for church leaders and health care workers has been overwhelmingly positive. By including leaders from CAR and DRC, we hope to see increased regional cooperation for the good of all.

Please keep the people of these nations in prayer and consider making a donation to train more African facilitators to meet the tremendous need.


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