Webinar recording: “Self-Help Plus: an effective and scalable tool to reduce distress among South Sudanese refugees?”

Webinar recording: “Self-Help Plus: an effective and scalable tool to reduce distress among South Sudanese refugees?”
Dear colleague,

MHPSS.net was pleased to announce the webinar on “Self-Help Plus: an effective and scalable tool to reduce distress among South Sudanese refugees?” which featured presentations from Ken Carswell (WHO), Safina Yusuf (HealthRight International), and Wietse A. Tol (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and HealthRight International). The webinar was held on Thursday, 2nd May 2019 at 1pm UTC.

To watch the recording video, please click here.

In order to address the massive mental health needs of populations affected by adversity (including collective violence and displacement), the World Health Organization has developed a range of scalable psychological interventions. One of those is Self Help Plus: a group-based intervention in which trained lay persons facilitate five weekly 1-2 hour workshops for 20 to 30 participants supported by audio recordings and an illustrated book. The NGO HealthRight, WHO, UNHCR, the Ministry of Health Uganda and other partners have adapted and tested this novel methodology in northern Uganda among South Sudanese refugee women. Preliminary outcomes suggest that this adapted version may be an effective first-line approach to reduce psychological distress among South Sudanese refugee women. Ongoing research among other refugee populations, including Syrian refugees and South Sudanese refugee men, shall provide information about effectiveness and utility in other populations.

This webinar consisted of three brief presentations that:

1) describe what Self Help Plus is (Ken Carswell);

2) discuss the adaptation for South Sudanese refugees in Uganda and the experiences with implementation in this group (Safina Yusuf);

3) provide some results of the research in Uganda (Wietse Tol).

Target audience:

This webinar is meant for humanitarian MHPSS staff who wish to learn more about Self Help Plus for Juba Arabic speaking South Sudanese refugee women.

About the Presenters:

Ken Carswell
 is a WHO Technical Officer based in Geneva, with a background in Clinical Psychology. He works on developing scalable psychological interventions, including Self Help Plus (SH+), where he leads development and implementation. He is focal point for other technology supported interventions at WHO which aim to use technology (self-help books, audio, video and online) to support delivery of evidence based psychological interventions to people affected by adversity and to help train MHPSS providers.

Safina Yusuf is a social worker based in Arua District in the North West of the country. She has a bachelor’s degree in Development Studies, and has worked with Peter C Alderman Foundation (now HealthRight International) as an intervention team leader for the Self Help Plus project. She led a team of seven facilitators in ensuring that Self Help Plus workshops were conducted in all selected refugee camps in Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement in Arua District.

Wietse A. Tol is Associate Professor in Global Mental Health (Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) and Program Director of the Peter C. Alderman Program for Global Mental Health (HealthRight International). His research and practice focus on mental health and psychosocial support interventions for adversity-affected populations in low- and middle-income countries. In particular, his work centres on interventions that address the social determinants of mental health, and linkages between research and practice.

About the Moderator:

Peter Ventevogel
 is a psychiatrist and a medical anthropologist. Since 2013 he is Senior Mental Health Officer with UNHCR in Geneva, providing technical support and guidance to refugee operations worldwide. He is actively involved in interagency collaboration and guidance on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in humanitarian and was technical expert for MHPSS in the revision of the Sphere Handbook 2018. In the past he worked in Afghanistan (2002-2005) and Burundi (2005-2008) and was editor in-chief of Intervention, Journal for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas.

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