Individuals with deteriorating mental health, stress, and burnout in Thailand – a country grappling with one of the highest suicide rates in Asia – need to be listened to so that they can receive the appropriate assistance.
There are two target groups. The first group comprises health volunteers under the Ministry of Public Health, within the vulnerable communities in Bangkok. The second group is Bangkok Hub Shapers, who will be trained not only to provide mental support as trained volunteers but also to become trainers of trainers themselves.
We have developed a psychological first aid to fit the cultural context in Thailand. Such a curriculum has been used to train health volunteers; a similar curriculum will also be used to train Shapers from Bangkok Hub.
The workshops are held every weekend, whereby volunteers are taken through the psychological first aid curriculum. The activities include empathy circle (understanding and sharing each other's fears), life graph exercise (understanding the ups and downs of the wheel of life), and community building (understanding the participants' dream community). The following items are provided during the training: 1) emergency psychiatric numbers; 2) instructions on how to respond to self-harm; 3) instructions on how to respond to the crisis; 4) empathy canvas map; and 5) instructions on how to practice self-care. The training also includes a 2-minute meditation to conclude the session.
Short & Long-Term Goals/Results:
As of March 2021, we have held 20 training sessions since the outset of the Project. In these sessions, 280 health volunteers were trained to be able to provide psychological first aid. The workshop had a minor hiccup in Q1 2021, given the rise of the second wave of COVID-19 cases in Thailand; nevertheless, further training will be conducted through 2021 through a hybrid model (virtual and in-person) starting from April 2021. The training for Global Shapers Bangkok is due to start in April 2021.
There are two long-term changes that the Project aims to achieve: 1) The acceptance of mental health problem as a medical illness rather than a spiritual issue or - even worse - a matter of no concern; and 2) The acceptance of substance abuse (alcohol and drugs) as a mental health issue.
Since the outset of the Project in April 2020, the Bangkok Hub has trained 280 health volunteers over 20 training sessions in Greater Bangkok -- volunteers who then went separate ways to implement and enact the psychological first aid curriculum learned in their own respective communities.
Two curriculums have been developed: one in Thai (to suit the cultural and sociological context of Thailand) and one in English (made on a global context for the wider Global Shapers Community).
Three Shapers in Bangkok Hub are currently involved in the Project, and, through cross-hub collaboration at a global-level, the curriculum and best practices are shared with 2 other Hubs: Lusaka Hub and Casablanca Hub. The psychological first aid curriculum in English is slated for release in April, along with the virtual training for Shapers worldwide.
The project has 7 partners, namely: 1) KhonKaen Rajanagarindra Psychiatric Hospital; 2) Sati App; 3) Sati Foundation; 4) Socialgiver; 5) Urban Studies Lab; 6) Scholars of Sustenance; and 7) Na Café at Bangkok 1899.