Clowns Without Borders UK (CWB UK) will be visiting FDMN in Cox’s Bazar January 20- February 2, 2
Center for Psychosocial Wellbeing (CfPW) is dedicated to ensuring mental health and wellbeing for diverse members of the community. From adolescents and street children to victims of traumatic events, CfPW is involved in advocating mental health and wellbeing through professional development trainings, counseling services and research. The center strategically involves people who cater services to the focused group of children from 0 to 18 years. The Center adopts customized approaches for each scenario and addresses wellbeing from a multi-dimensional viewpoint.
Professional Development: CfPW provides need-based certificate courses and trainings to people from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as facilitators and para-counselors working in the field of mental health, and information related to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). The center also provides short courses on mental health for professionals. These training programs are customized and tailored according to the need of the organization.
Currently offered courses:
1. Short course on psychosocial education for educators: Objective of the course is to enable the educators to apply psychosocial support to specific adolescent groups in their community with an empathetic approach. The course is designed in a training format where both the generic psychosocial skills and need based skills are practiced and developed. Training sessions are focused on the view to alter the attitudes of administrative staff members and enable a more empathetic attitude through ongoing practice sessions and case studies.
2. Short course on psychosocial support for health care professionals: Objective of the course is to enable the health care professionals to apply psychosocial support to specific groups in their community with an empathetic approach. The course curriculum is consisting of capacity building initiatives that provide mental health & support alongside and in alignment with their existing health models. The course is designed in a training format where both the generic psychosocial skills and need based skills are practiced and developed.
3. Short course on psychosocial support for service providers of substance abuse rehabilitation center: Objective of the course is to enable the service providers of substance abuse rehabilitation centers to apply psychosocial support to specific groups in their community with an empathetic approach. The short course is focused to provide participants the opportunity to get a detailed knowledge about the different forms of substances and drugs available, their effect on human brain & behavior and therapeutic techniques to treat substance abusers. The course is designed in a training format where both the generic psychosocial skills and need based skills are practiced and developed.
Models: The center has been a frontrunner in developing various models to address service-provision as well as awareness on psychosocial wellbeing. Notable work has been covered in creating barefoot counselors for the communities and schools as well as building teachers’ capacities as psychosocial supporters for the school-going adolescents.
Shomaj Shongee: The BRAC Education Program has opened up adolescent clubs under Adolescent Development Program (ADP). A ‘Shomaj Shongee’ model has been developed where young female para-counselors provide weekly sessions and conducted household visits at the students’ houses to ensure regular school attendance and address other issues that adolescents face. The idea behind employing Shomaj Shongees was to provide accurate information regarding the challenges faced during adolescents and develop student’s knowledge.
For the purpose of testing Shomaj Shongee (SS) model in rural context to more diversified institutions (i.e. adolescent clubs, high schools and madrasas) on May 2014, ADP was introduced to the Shomaj Shongee (SS) model on pilot basis. 32 of these Shomaj Shongees or “friends of society” were trained by BIED to be effective para-counselors and were sent to various adolescent clubs, high schools and madrasas. 20 discussion sessions were held depending on stress management, anger management and self-defense concerning the psychosocial wellbeing of the young people.
b) Teachers Plus model: The main purpose of the study was to examine the effectiveness of the Teacher plus psychosocial model on socio-emotional wellbeing and knowledge and practice of SRHR of 6th grade students in junior secondary schools. It also explored the improvement of teachers’ knowledge and practice.
Students of 7 intervention schools received SRHR and psycho education delivered by the teachers. The intervention consists of 12 sessions on SRHR and psychosocial issues: relationship, physical and mental changes, stress, anger, goal settings, exam phobia etc.
CAPACITY BUILDING WITH UBR & BRAC STAR
BIED, in collaboration with the alliances of Unite for Body Rights (UBR), have facilitated training on frontline counseling course for teachers and frontline counselors in UBR-supported schools in 2015. It has also collaborated with the Skills Training for Advancing Resources (STAR) program of BRAC, conducting sessions on Basic Communication Skills, Adolescent Abuse, Stress Management, and Anger Management to peer leaders who later conducted sessions to the adolescents under this program. An additional training on “Basic Communication Skills” and “Adolescent Abuse” was provided to 100 field staffs of Skill Development Program of BRAC for sensitization.
COLLABORATION WITH BRAC ADP
BRAC’s Adolescents Development Program (ADP) has been working to improve the quality of life of vulnerable adolescents, especially girls since 1993. In collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) as well as the department of youth development (under the Ministry of Youth), the BRAC Education Program has opened up adolescent clubs under ADP. These centers provide a safe space and supportive environment for girls to socialize, play indoor games, sing, dance, as well as share life views and experiences. The model was later replicated due to its effective service.
COLLABORATION WITH BRAC USCP
Dhaka’s street children are victims of poverty and negligence. They lack affection, family and guidance in their lives and therefore often turn to illegal and personally damaging actions like drug use or inappropriate sexual behaviour. Exposure to a negative environment also often leads to stress, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and other similar issues. In order to help the less fortunate with the psychosocial issues they face, BIED has collaborated with the Urban Street Children Program (USCP) of BRAC, a program that provides psychosocial support to this underprivileged population.
BIED began its journey with the team in May of 2014. It provided guidance by way of a group of 22 carefully selected and educated psychosocial helpers who were trained in three phases built by the BIED psychosocial team. The process took a total of fifteen (15) days and discussed various topics related to psychosocial wellbeing and mental to be delivered to the children of USCP.
Along with these topics, USCP members were given specified training to develop their communication skills and cater basic understanding of child development. Eventually, the counselors were able to help the underprivileged harness their emotions and work on their psychosocial wellbeing.
SECONDARY SCHOOLS TEACHER PLUS
Teachers as Mental Health Supporters CfPW is currently conducting a research on “Effectiveness of Teacher-Plus Psychosocial Models on Socio-Emotional Well-Being and Educational Achievement of Secondary School Students in Bangladesh: A Randomized Controlled Trial”, funded by Netherlands Initiative for Capacity development in Higher Education (NICHE). This initiative seeks to understand and address the importance of teachers as mental health supporters for young adolescent students in classrooms and schools. As adolescent is a period of great physical, mental, socio-emotional transitions and changes, the research seeks to understand and facilitate the role of teachers in providing psychosocial support and guidance to students. 7 secondary schools are involved with this program where 28 teachers are contributing as a mental health supporters for 560 students. The research will end in 2017.
TRANSGENDER YOUTH PROJECT
In the month of September 2015, BIED has taken an initiative to facilitate a training program on “Psychosocial Well-being and Skill Development of Transgender Youths” in Bangladesh collaboratively with Somporker Noya Setu (SNS). The project was funded by Share-Net International. 75 transgender youth have received the training from the targeted 200 all over Bangladesh. The project has come to a close in 2016 and research on this has also been undertaken.
Researches: CfPW analyzes the impact of mental health and psycho-education for all the aspects of the community. Research works focus on wellbeing, maternal mental health; psychosocial education for adolescents, teacher support, and effectiveness of frontline counselors working with disadvantaged adolescents. And the center provides evidence based solutions for the implementing agencies for the overall wellbeing of the whole society.
Counseling service: CfPW provides counseling services through individual and group sessions applying different approaches and therapy; Psychological First-Aid and counseling sessions for victims of trauma through the need based therapy.
INITIATIVE FOR RANA PLAZA VICTIMS
In April 2013, after the Rana Plaza collapse in Savar, a team of professionals with psychology and counselling backgrounds from BIED provided counselling and emotional support to the victims, their families and the caregivers at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) and Pongu Hospital. The patients, particularly the young women there, expressed numerous concerns and were grateful for the opportunity to have an active listener to divulge their problems to.
The team at BIED formed of psychologists and psycho-social counsellors began their work on April 27th (3 days after the collapse). They conducted their work at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) and Pongu Hospital. A total of 157 survivors of the tragedy were covered with an age range from 15 to 45. There were 23 females and 14 males covered in DMCH and 81 females and 28 males in Pongu hospital. Now, over a year since the tragedy, BIED continues to work with the victims.
Following its experience with the Rana Plaza disaster, the psychosocial counselling team at BIED began exploring trauma management later in the year. As part of this BIED organised a 5-day training course on “Trauma in Disaster Response” in collaboration with Columbia University which was facilitated by Dr. Jack Saul, Assistant Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health, Columbia university in November 2013. BIED also organised a training workshop on post-trauma stress encountered by journalists and ethical protocol in reporting of trauma caused by urban disasters, jointly with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in November 2013. The report has been published.
COLLABORATION WITH BRAC DMCC
BIED has been working for the survivors of Rana plaza in collaboration with BRAC’s Disaster Management and Climate Change (DMCC) program since 2013. 2015 onwards, DMCC and BIED have taken initiatives for to ensure psychosocial counseling support, long term medical services and post award livelihood support for 450 individuals from the Rana Plaza Accident which includes victims and deceased families. As per project objective, BIED Psychosocial Counselors are providing psychosocial support through group counseling, family counseling and individual counseling sessions.