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NEEM Foundation trains Sokoto social workers on mental health, psychosocial support

Group picture of participants at the 5-day NEEM Foundation capacity building on mental health and psychological support services for 31 social workers in Sokoto State. 
Photo by Ankeli Emmanuel, Sokoto

BY ANKELI EMMANUEL, Sokoto

NEEM Foundation has organized a 5-day capacity building programme on mental health and psychological support services for 31 social workers in Sokoto State.

NEEM, engaged by the Ford Foundation is implementing an 18-month project titled “Prevent and Protect” with the aim of strengthening access and response to Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Sokoto, Kano and Kaduna States.

The social workers were drawn from the Sokoto state Ministry for Women and Children Affairs, Ministry for Social Welfare, Ministry of Religious Affairs, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the Gender Unit of the Nigerian Police Force and that of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) as well as Frontline staff of Gender Based Violence (GBV) Women-led and Gender Advocacy Civil Society Organizations and Networks in Sokoto state.

Beginning the 5-day training, participants were given the basic ideas and definitions and different forms of gender-based violence (GBV) and violence against women and girls (VAWG).

Talking on the psychological impact of GBV and VAWG on survivors, one of the facilitators, Aisha Buba appealed that all hands must be on deck to curb the wildfire that is cross cutting the society.

According to her, future generations can only be secured through coordinated GBV enlightenment, response and preventive measures.

On her part, commissioner for Women and Children Affairs, Honourable Kulu Sifawa maintained that Sokoto state government support to all development partners is yielding positive impact especially in the fight against GBV, ending VAWG, increased girl child enrolments as well as drastic reduction in out of school children amongst others.

Kulu further thanked the NEEM Foundation’s Ford Funded Project for the continuous capacity building and system strengthening in prevention and response to GBV in Sokoto state.

Topics discussed within the 5 days training included Introduction to Common Mental Disorder, Statistics, Mental Health, Screening for Depression, Anxiety and Stress.

Others are, Dos and Don’ts of Psychological First Aid (PFA), Helpful  Behaviours in PFA, Reactions to Distress, Principles of PFA, Active Listening Skills, Referral Pathway Group, Self-Care, Psychosocial Support and IASC, Intervention Pyramid, Survivor Centered Approach, Principle of Survivor Centered Approach, Counselling, Therapeutic and Interpersonal Communication Skills as well as Emotional Intelligence, Regulation and the Humanitarian Principles of “Do no Harm.”

Reacting to the 5-day training, the State Programme Coordinator, Mr. Joseph Julius thanked Sokoto state government and all participants for their robust contributions.

Mr. Joseph also appealed to them to step down the training to help improve mental health and psychosocial support services (MHPSS) to GBV survivors in the state.

The State Programme coordinator also called on the government and other key stakeholders at the training to engage more social workers to respond to MHPSS needs in Sokoto state.

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