Class in Kisumu, Kenya.

BY ALLISON KOZICHAROW; EDITED BY BERNICE BORN

Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Mental health affects how we think, feel and act, as well as how we relate to others and make choices.

 

The World Health Organization defines mental health as a state of well-being, in which every person realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and can make a contribution to his or her community.

 

The WiRED International module on promoting mental health and wellness provides community health workers (CHWs) with an introduction to mental health and its determinants, why it is important, how to promote it and how to maintain positive mental health. The training also describes mental illnesses and how to seek help.

 

Many low-resource areas of the world rely on CHWs for fundamental health care rather than on rarely found doctors and nurses. WiRED’s CHW Training Program will enable CHWs to educate underserved communities about epidemics, disease prevention/management and day-to-day health maintenance, including mental health.

 

Through WiRED’s module, CHWs will learn to promote to the communities they serve the idea that mental health and physical health go hand in hand.

 

 

 

 

WiRED’s Community Health Worker Training Program


Physician density varies widely among countries, with around 500 doctors per 100,000 people at the high end and 3 per 100,000 at the low end. The lowest physician counts are usually found in the poorest regions of Africa, parts of the Middle East, South Asia and segments of Latin America. With doctors and nurses absent or scarce, people are left alone to heal the sick, deliver children and address chronic illnesses, all with skills uninformed by effective medical practices.

 

CHW services are wide and varied and differ from place to place. A lingering problem is how to train CHWs with a standard curriculum while adapting to local differences in health conditions, cultural norms, government requirements and resource availability.

 

We are now developing the curriculum and we will soon research a comprehensive CHW training program for low-resource communities. It will provide an adaptable CHW training program that offers a core curriculum augmented by tools to meet local needs. Further, it will provide a continuing health education program, enabling CHWs to stay abreast of current trends and to remain informed if outbreaks should occur.

 

 

Quiz Taken from WiRED’s Module on Promoting Mental Health and Wellness

1. Mental health affects how we do what?

 a. Think
 b. Handle stress
 c. Relate to others
 d. Make choices
 e. All of the above

2. Mental health problems must be long-lasting to be considered a mental illness. True or false?

 a. True
 b. False

3. Which feelings or behaviors can be early warning signs of a mental health problem?

 a. Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried or scared
 b. Yelling or fighting with family and friends
 c. Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
 d. Having persistent thoughts and memories you can't get out of your head
 e. All of the above

4. People with mental health problems never recover completely. True or false?

 a. True
 b. False

 

 


You can download the module mentioned in this story, and all 400+ of WiRED’s health modules, through WiRED’s Health Module Access Program (HealthMAP) by clicking here. This easy-to-use free program will enable you to create your own customized collection of health learning modules. You can learn more about HealthMAP through WiRED's animation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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