Three City and Hackney Clinical Psychologists (Dr. Fiona Paveley, Dr. Lisa Rajan and Dr. Kirsty Harrison) went to Uganda in the Spring as volunteers of the Butabika-East London Link. All three psychologists have experience of working on in-patient units as well as the community. The Butabika-East London Link is a collaborative mutually beneficial partnership between East London NHS Foundation Trust and the main teaching and referral hospital, Butabika.
The psychologists devised and delivered two phases of a 3 day training program on psychological approaches to psychosis. The first phase involved teaching the in-patient nurses and the second phase involved teaching the Psychiatric Clinical Officers (PCOs) who were all very knowledgeable yet keen to learn and practise new ideas such as mindfulness and compassion focused approaches for managing distressing features of psychosis. Teaching modules included assessment and formulation, working with motivational difficulties, managing voices, coping with paranoia and relapse prevention. The teaching was multi-media involving lots of practical exercises, role play, video and meditation exercises. Other teaching involved how to create a time line and identify early warning signs, crisis planning and working with families. Approximately thirty two nurses attended the first week and thirty six PCOs attended the second week. All trainees graduated from the teaching program with certificates for attending the workshops on "working psychologically with people with psychosis".
In turn, the City and Hackney psychologists learnt that these Ugandan mental health professionals had sophisticated psychosocial understandings of psychosis despite mental health not generally receiving as much attention as communicable diseases, such as HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria and because biomedically based interventions are the officially accepted form of health care for psychosis in most African countries. They were also very impressed that many of the trainees had overcome stigma to work in mental health and were very committed and passionate about their patients and careers.
Trainees fed back that they learnt about "the psychological aspect of psychosis" as well as skills for "practically treating psychosis" and “managing patients other than medication”. The training program received lots of positive feedback and invites to return to do more teaching!
If you would like to get involved, contact the Global Health Partnerships Manager and Link Coordinator, Edmund Koboah by email: Edmund.firstname.lastname@example.org