Monica Chavira, a Mental Health Consultant based in Juarez, Chihuahua, lead a Mental Health GAP Training February 26-27 in Puerto Palomas. Nineteen adults attended this two day training, from 9 AM to 5 PM each day. The program was sponsored by the US-Mexico Border Health Commission and the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. All our local health promotoras participated in the training, with the addition of 13 other residents of the community.
This was a wonderful opportunity to strengthen important skills in an area that has suffered trauma for many causes, including past violence from drug and gang related causes.
“I learned how to identify people with mental disabilities and how to refer them to receive primary care. This training will improve my ability to serve my community.”“I learned how to identify a person with a mental disability and what risks they pose. Other things were how to relax and be calm, how to treat an alcoholic person and how to assist anyone from our community. I liked this training very much.”“I learned how to listen to another person and help them identify their problems.”
The training was based on the Mental Health Gap Action Program (mhGAP) Intervention Guide for mental, neurological and substance use disorders in non-specialized health settings that was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), adapted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) and facilitated with support from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Our two-day workshop was part of a regional effort that included nine local nonprofit organizations. Overall, over 250 adults participated in the program. It focused on community and substance use disorders in non-specialized health settings. It also provided community health workers basic training in mental health screening and referrals. The training also included how to monitor and follow up with people with mental illness and their families.
We’re delighted to see our new Education Center used as the site for fine adult programming like this. Strengthening mental health skills will improve the community of Palomas.