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Jordan

Best Practices on Mental Health Systems shared in Irbid

Topics discussed in the workshop focused on the importance of mental health practices and systems affecting the community in Irbid, and some sessions focused on mental health capacity building for non-specialists and services into private health care centres.

“Working on the mental health sector should not be the responsibility of one organisation,” said Dr. Ahmad Bawaneh, Director for Programmes for International Medical Corps Jordan and Co-Chair of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) working group at a Mental Health workshop in Irbid.

Members from the Ministry of Health, Irbid Directorate of Health, prestigious Jordanian Universities, Agence Française Développement (AFD), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), CARE, International Medical Corps, and many other well-known organisations came together to discuss best practices and the future of mental health systems in Jordan.

Overcoming a stigma

“Mental health is sometimes an issue with a stigma attached to it, but it is really important that we overcome that, and support people to find the support and care that they need,” said Wouter Schaap, Country Director for Action Against Hunger’s Jordan Mission.

The workshop is part of the organisation’s multi-sectoral Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene and Mental Health intervention, with the support of Agence française De Développement (AFD) and funded by the European Union’s Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis (the MADAD fund). This project is conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Health (MoH).

The workshop was divided into different sessions where different mental health stakeholders, such as non-governmental organisations, community based organisations, the Department of Health, universities, Women Unions, universities, private medical clinics, and esteemed guests shared their knowledge and experience in the mental health field.

"Jordan has been recognised as one of the top countries in adopting and implementing programmes that are bridging the mental health gap"
Dr. Fateen Janim
Director of Disabilities and Mental Health Directorate , Ministry of Health in Jordan

“Jordan has been recognised as one of the top countries in adopting and implementing programmes that are bridging the mental health gap and care practices at medical centers. As a developed country, we are known for offering health services to mental health patients,” said Dr. Fateen Janim, the Director of Disabilities and Mental Health Directorate at the Ministry of Health in Jordan. “The most important thing we need to focus on is the united participation and coordination in the provision of mental health services by all concerned health sector partners in the Kingdom.”

“The Ministry has been developing a national action plan for mental health support working with the World Health Organisation to implement psychological services in primary health centres to reduce the stigma related to specialised mental health care,” said Dr. Fateen.

Nour Saeed, Action Against Hunger’s Mental Health Programme Manager, alongside Dr. Fateen Janem, Dr. Ahmad Algizzawi, representing the private sector, Dr. Basil Amarneh from the Jordan University of Science and Technology, and Dr. Ahamdd Alshiekh from the University of Jordan,  took part in a panel discussion on capacity building best practices and recommended approaches.

“Hopefully we will try to extend or attract new projects for Bani Kenaneh and Taybeh,” said Nour. “We provided awareness on psychosocial support services, with a lot of interaction with community based organisations and primary health centres, raising awareness on mental health and talking about the stigma as a whole.”

International non-governmental organisations (INGOs) and local organisations that participated throughout the workshop, such as LWF and JOHUD, presented  facts, case studies, and success stories about mental health referral pathways, focusing on cooperation and collaboration amongst actors and mental health awareness and services in the community. There was a particular emphasis on working with community based organisations in Irbid.

The workshop concluded on a positive note where all organisations participated in an interactive question and answer session and spoke about recommendations, their opinions, and their research regarding the future of mental health practices and systems in Jordan.

A similar workshop was conducted in Dahuk in Iraq with esteemed mental health stakeholders to discuss similar practices. Results from both workshops will be published and exchanged during the regional workshop, which will take place in December this year.

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