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School based mental health care: MCNV’s pilot model in Quang Tri

MCNV Vietnam Country Director Pham Dung gave remarks at the workshop

On December 21st 2018, an evaluation workshop on the School-based Mental Health Care Project took place at Huu Nghi Hotel in Dong Ha City, Quang Tri Province. Representatives of MCNV, Provincial Department of Education and Training, Provincial Health Service, Preventive Health Center and nearly 30 high schools in the province attended the workshop. At the workshop, MCNV and the stakeholders reviewed the current situation of mental health (MH) among high school students, the interventions that MCNV and local partners have implemented in the project, remarkable results and proposed directions in the coming time.

The School-based Mental Health Care project has been piloted at Vinh Linh High School since May 5th 2017 with the aim of reducing the rate of students having, and being at risk of having, MH problems, building capacity in MH care for teachers, and improving knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of students and parents in MH care. Before the project started, MCNV conducted a survey on the MH situation of high school students in Quang Tri province. The survey results showed that up to 11.8% of high school students had MH problems and 20.86% were at risk of having MH problems.

For 18 months of implementing the project, MCNV has collaborated with the Department of Education and Training of Quang Tri Province and Vinh Linh High School to implement various activities, including establishing a MH care counseling team at the school, training to improve knowledge and skills in MH for the counseling team, sharing these knowledge and skills with other teachers in the school, using the SDQ25 tool (of the World Health Organization) to survey and monitor the students’ MH status, counseling for students having MH problems, organizing MH communication activities, and promoting information sharing and interactions about students’ MH issues via Facebook. In the implementation process, some activities were technically assisted by Da Nang Psychiatric Hospital.

The activities mentioned above have contributed to helping the teachers of Vinh Linh High School and the counseling team have basic knowledge and skills in detecting and intervening with students having MH problems, and at the same time changing the perception, attitudes and behaviors of teachers, students and parents about MH care. The comparison of the survey results at the beginning and at the end of the project has showed that the percentage of students with MH problems has decreased to 4.97% (compared to 9.32% before intervention) and the percentage of students at risk of having MH problems has decreased to 12.88% (compared with 17.74% before intervention).

With the positive results of this pilot project, the Department of Education and Training of Quang Tri Province and the high schools have proposed MCNV to replicate the project model to other high schools in the province. MCNV will try to mobilize funding in the coming time to meet this expectation.

To understand more about the School-based MH Care Project, you can refer to the materials for teachers and students at the Publications of this website and watch the following video on YouTube: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDek9rLsw4c&t=53s