A three-hour workshop focused on improving the quality of psychological support was held in Kingston, Jamaica on 20 March 2024. Facilitated by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), the session aimed to enhance the competence of facilitators and improve the consistency and quality of training and service delivery. Dr. James Underhill from the WHO led the workshop, which was attended by about 20 participants.

The workshop will be used to assess Problem Management Plus (PM+) competencies during program implementation in Jamaica. Since its launch in July 2022, 55 supervisors and 212 service providers from at least 20 faith-based and community-based organizations have been trained and provided support to at least 45 individuals in the community. Efforts are underway to further enhance the skills of individuals already working in the communities.

Research has shown that individuals who are not mental health professionals can effectively implement psychological interventions with appropriate training and supervision. Supervisors and providers who participated in the workshop are expected to be better prepared to integrate competency measures into the PM+ program. Competency-based approaches to training have been successful in a variety of healthcare settings in low-resource settings.

The training conducted will facilitate discussions on current benefits, identify potentially harmful behaviors, and identify areas for improvement during the implementation of the PM+ program. Existing training and supervision plans will be personalized to provide better support.

PM+ is a scalable community-based intervention developed by the World Health Organization that uses a problem-solving approach to help people manage adversity and everyday challenges. It equips community members with the tools they need to support others who may be struggling to cope.

By Samantha Johnson

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