Less than a week to go!

1 May

THET Maternal Mental Health project, Nawal Parasi, Nepal

#jcmireland #edwinvanteijlingen

We are leaving the UK on Friday to work on a THET funded (Tropical Health Education Trust) project run by a partnership of UK (Bournemouth and Liverpool John Moores) and Nepal (Tribhuvan) universities. THET fund health training in the poorest of countries. This project has been blogged by one the earlier volunteers, retired health visitor Ish Fawcett (https://travel7439.wordpress.com/). Mental health is a difficult topic to discuss in Nepal (as it often is in the UK). This makes it hard for front-line health workers, especially non-mental health specialists, to start a discussion about mental health issues with patients (Van Teijlingen, E.R.; Simkahda, P.; Devkota, B., Padmadharini.; Ireland, J.; Simkhada, B.; Sherchan, L.; Chandra Sikwak, R.; Pradhan Samridhi.; Maharjan, S.K.; Maharjan, M.K. (2015) Mental Health Issues in pregnant women in Nepal. Editorial. Nepal Journal of Epidemiology.499-501.)

The project has been running since early 2015 with the target group being Auxilliary Nurse-Midwives (18 month year training covering both specialities) who are invited to local training in the Nawal Parasi region of Nepal, in the Terai (low level) ,region close to the Indian border. Each round of workshops reaches three groups of 20-30 staff. The day longblog1THETGeetablog1THET workshops are designed to facilitate learning about perinatal mental health in greater and greater depth as the programme progresses. A curriculum for use in national training programmes will be designed by the end of the project. This will be achieved through co-learning within the project team, learners and training bodies. We are carrying on from previous volunteers’ work at number 4 (to 7) below. Out team is two midwives (myself from St Mary’s Maternity Hospital, Poole, Dorset, Andrea Lawrie from Robert Gordon University/Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, Aberdeen) and a mental health nurse specialising in high intensity therapy (IAP), Dave Havelock (Whitby, N.Yorkshire).

  1. Baseline knowledge and learning needs assessment (publication forthcoming)
  2. Communication skills
  3. Why perinatal mental health is important (for mother and infant)
  4. Prevention of emotional and mental ill health
  5. Techniques for relaxation and reflection
  6. Measuring depression using the Edinburgh perinatal depression scale
  7. An introduction to CBT

A learning technique I have long wanted to participate in is ‘forum theatre’ (always effective at Royal College of Midwives Conferences) and our Nepalese counterparts (and translators) are familiar with the technique (for background see http://www.dramaresource.com/forum-theatre ). We will be labelling depression as the ‘oppressor’ and the exercise will run throughout the day as an active link between presentations giving participants to reflect and demonstrate their learning and feelings.

I have only ever been in Nepal in the month of December and am preparing for heat this time! There has been a lot of work  preparing for this experience and I am sure that Andrea and Dave will fall in love with the country and its people like so many before them.









One Response to “Less than a week to go!”

  1. Ish in Nepal May 1, 2016 at 6:45 pm #

    Wonderful blog! Programme looks great + I look forward to following you.

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