In February 2014, Paul Baker and John Jenkins undertook a two week mission sponsored by the World Health Organisation and supported by the Palestinian Authority.
We provided training and consultancy to the mental health services in Gaza and the West Bank of Palestine. The training was focused on creating a Whole Life Whole Systems Recovery Action Plan for the services.
The Ministries of Health Palestine and the WHO in West Bank and Gaza recognised the importance of further developing the Recovery Approach for mental health professionals, University tutors, senior managers, NGO's and Family Associations.
The WHO Mental Health Programme commissioned the International Mental Health Collaborating Network (IMHCN) to identify and provide experienced training consultants to devise and run a four day training programme.
The Ministries chose the participants who undertook the training based on their assessment of their capacity to implement the training into their practice and services.
In the West Bank there were 25 participants (psychiatrists, mental health nurses, social workers, a counsellor, Occupational Therapists, Nurse Tutor) at the Bethlehem Hospital Training workshop
In Gaza there were 18 participants (psychologists, mental health nurses, University Tutors, social workers) from the Community Mental Health Centres, the Hospital and the University.
The workshop introduced an important new approach to meeting the whole life needs of the people with mental health problems, families and the wider community. We developed the thinking, knowledge and practice of the participants in assisting people in their recovery journey and to become active members of society - as part of a whole systems approach. The training built on existing knowledge and practice of using the recovery approach within the mental health teams in West Bank and Gaza.sans-serif;">This session provided an overview of a range of different person centred recovery planning and action tools including WRAP, MAPs, Victim to Victor.
Establishing a Recovery Learning and Development Group
The participants of the workshop proposed that they form a formal group to lead on and support the implementation of recovery practice in the West Bank and Gaza. These groups will continue to work together with an agreed terms of reference and programme of work. Both Groups will report to their respective Mental Health Directors.
This recommendation was accepted by both Directors of Mental Health and will commence their work immediately.
Both Learning and Development Groups identified priorities for work over the next six to twelve months as follows:
- They selected four existing clients for whom recovery plans will be jointly developed alongside families and other important people.
- The outcomes will be used to illustrate the effectiveness of this approach and to encourage further application of the approach throughout the service.
- Both Learning and Development Groups embraced joint working nationally and internationally
- Both groups wanted to continue their learning and development, share good practice and successful recovery stories; find solutions to overcoming challenges; conduct research and participate in national and international recovery events and developments via the International Mental Health Collaborating Network.
- Developing the Hearing Voices Approach: Both groups have undertaken to develop the hearing voices approach for users within their services, specifically through the establishment of voice hearing support groups and developing professional practice. IMHCN with the Hearing Voices Network Cymru have agreed to provide training materials and a small start up grant to assist in this initiative. Other support including future study visits, online training etc. is being explored.
Hearing Voices Approach
Two additional meetings to discuss the hearing voices approach and recovery were also held. The first meeting took place on Thursday 8th February at the Friends for Mental Health Centre and was attended by thirty people. As a result of this meeting IMHCN has agreed to work with the management group of Friends for Mental Health to assist in the establishment of hearing voices group at the centre and to explore other social inclusion and recovery initiatives involving families. We will be liaising with the Director and staff in the next few months and sending resource packs.
The second meeting took place on the Thursday 13th February with the staff group of the Gaza Community Mental Health Group. This meeting was fruitful and has led to a commitment to send them a resource pack and to consider ways of taking forward this approach.
Paul Baker and John Jenkins