According to the World Health Organisation, mental health disorders are common in all regions of the world. Mental health issues affect every community and age group across countries of all different incomes.
In Fiji, health workers are using new and innovative ways to increase their knowledge about mental health issues. One example is the recent five day workshop held at the Vunidawa Hospital Conference Room, Naitasiri from 10 to 14 September, which was all about the mental health gap. This was facilitated by registered nurses Namrta Devi and Meleane Baledrokadroka, and 15 people took part. Participants included zone nurses, district nurses, clinic nurses, nursing manager and a dental officer.
Facilitator Namrta Devi is very enthusiastic about mental health. She says it is is an important topic however it is usually ignored and not taken seriously. She advocates that mental health should always be given a high priority as there is no health without mental health.
The workshop included pre-test and post test evaluations of the participants. Teaching involved a slide-show, video demonstrations, brainstorming ideas on the whiteboard, recapping and discussing participants’ personal stories. Participants took part in role plays, group and individual presentations to carry out assessment. This focused on management and follow-up care of cases.
Evaluation of the workshop was done on the final day by participants. Evaluation of the venue, number of participants in the workshop, the length and quality of the training, how helpful the training was, how good the activities were and levels of increased confidence were all assessed. Participants were also asked to list the three most important things they learned during the training, what presentation and learning styles were most effective for them and why, and to suggest improvements.
There was positive feedback from participants from the evaluation sheets received mentioned in particular the facilitators Namrta Devi and Meleane Baledrokadroka. Overall, this training was a huge success, with participants stating they learned brand new and highly relevant information. Both the participants and facilitators expressed enthusiasm for undertaking more of these types of workshops in the future.