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Course Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in post conflict areas

This autumn the second Practice Oriented Course Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Post Conflict Areas took place, organized by HealthNet TPO and Cogis (a Dutch expert centre on the (psycho) social effects of war, persecution, aggression and violence).

The course prepares (future) fieldworkers to better understand the development and implementation of mental health and psychosocial interventions, and to assist local staff in developing these sustainable interventions. The course consisted of three parts:

  • In the first part several themes were discussed, such as: how to position the services within a general context of community development and social reconstruction after conflicts and disasters? How to support vulnerable groups? How to involve existing structures of care? How to make training and interventions sustainable?
  • The second part of the course offered a workshop on project development for international mental health and a workshop on training and supervision, focussing on the development of interactive training and clinical supervision skills.
  • The third part of the course was optional and consisted of fieldwork in Uganda. The students who went to Uganda got an insight in working with very rural African communities with a lot of cultural diversity.

The background of the 17 participants was divers: eight of them were Dutch and the others came from Belgium, the USA, Japan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. This mix of people with different cultural and regional backgrounds and experiences, gave an extra dimension to the course. For experienced participants, the theoretical insights gave them a more structural framework to develop, implement and evaluate their work, while the practical experiences of the participants strengthened the critical reflection on western concepts and diagnoses. It enhanced the realisation of the importance of community based and cultural sensitive interventions.

The course was evaluated positively and most participants have achieved their goals. Next year this course will be organized again. If you are interested please send an e-mail to and you will be informed about the details.

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