Thinking Healthy Program (THP) adaptation workshop

A one-day adaption workshop of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Thinking Healthy Program (THP) for perinatal depression was held at TPO Nepal on 27 September 2021. Total 14 mental health and maternal and child health experts from different organizations participated in the workshop. Pragya Shrestha and Prasansa Subba facilitated the workshop held as a part of the ENHANCE project.

First, Dr. Kamal Gautam, Executive Manager of TPO Nepal, welcomed the participants and gave a brief overview of the workshop, maternal health, and mental health. After the introduction of participants, Prasansa Subba gave an overview of ENHANCE project and the context of maternal depression. She also shared that the Thinking Healthy Program is an intervention recommended by WHO that is currently being used in many countries. The intervention has been seen beneficial in supporting women with maternal depression in low-and middle-income countries. Now the intervention is being tested in Nepal to assess its effectiveness. She also shared some data about perinatal depression. Different studies have suggested that around 4.9 to 33% of women in Nepal are suffering from this problem. “Depressed women are more likely to skip regular health services, antenatal and postnatal checkups, and institutional delivery,” said Ms. Subba.

Similarly, Pragya Shrestha shared about the THP manual adaptation process and updates. The workshop was one of the processes of adaptation, according to her. She also showed the participants a video about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and shared that the intervention was based on this process. “THP is a community-based intervention which can be provided by laypeople with no prior experience in mental health,” said Ms. Shrestha.

After the presentations, the participants were divided into three groups. The group task was to transform negative thoughts, behaviors, and outcomes into positive ones during the pregnancy and after the birth. Each group worked on the mother’s health, mother-child relationship, and the mother’s relationship with others. The group work was followed by a question and answer session where participants expressed their questions on different parts of the project process, such as incentives to the female community health volunteers, cultural barriers, and family member’s involvement. “This is a much-needed initiative, but more research is needed regarding the impact of culture on maternal health,” said Obindra B Chand, a medical anthropologist.

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