Service user and caregiver dissemination program
A dissemination program was held on 18th June 2019 at Bharatpur Garden Resort, Chitwan to mark the completion of ‘REducing barriers to mental health task SHAring: stigma reduction in Primary carE (RESHAPE)’ project. This project was implemented at Chitwan district from June 2015 to June 2019, to understand the feasibility and acceptability of a supplemental training module to improve attitudes towards and social engagement with persons with mental illnesses. The dissemination program was attended by 29 service users and caregivers.
In the program, a presentation about the activities conducted under RESHAPE and OPAL projects with service users and caregivers was given by Ms. Dristy Gurung, Project Coordinator at TPO Nepal. Collection of pictures from the programs and training were also presented. After this, discussion with service users and caregivers was held on what they learned through the project, what aspects were helpful, and what could have made their experience better. Similarly, Theory of Change chart and findings from the pilot cluster Randomized Control Trial (cRCT) conducted under RESHAPE project were presented. Two testimonial videos of service users who benefitted from the project were also screened. The program ended with a closing speech by Dr. Kamal Gautam, Deputy Executive Manager and distribution of token of appreciation to all the participants.
In the discussion, participants mentioned that after participating in the training, they got more information about their illness and realized that they shouldn’t hide it. It also helped them gain the confidence to talk to others regarding mental illness and counsel them to seek treatment from health facilities. After the training, they have been actively involved in referring community people with mental health problems to the health facilities. However, due to community stigma and lack of trust towards them, they haven’t been much successful. “We could never speak up in front of even 2-4 people. After coming here and taking the training, we have been able to speak in front of the mass. After seeing the changes in us, others come up to us and ask ‘What happened to you? You were not like this before, how did you improve so much?’ We tell them about this training and about the treatment provided by the health posts”, said a female service user.
“I couldn’t even say my own name in front of other people. But today I can go in front of the health workers and talk about my story. I am proud of myself now and am confident to even facilitate/emcee programs without feeling shy!”, said another male service user in the program.