Mental Health Awareness and Support - Kamirithu Village
Mental health awareness and taking a trauma informed view of mentorship continue to be high priority areas of the mentorship aspect of the Business Women Support Program (BWSP). Our mentorship approach takes into consideration the individual experiences of every woman we work with. The women all want the same thing, to create lasting economic impact in their lives as well as in their communities.
Using EMPath’s (Economic Mobility Pathways) Mobility Mentoring format, we partner with the women in order to help them tap into what they need to gain economic independence. Knowing that they already have solutions to the challenges they face. However, when living in high need based situations, stress is high. High stress situations interfere with the ability to effectively tap into executive function skills such as planning. Living in a constant state of fire-fighting, seeking to survive today or solve immediate crises, the brain is constantly engaged in finding solutions to the pressing issues now, not long term planning for an unseen future.
Taking a trauma informed approach in mentorship has transformed how we approach our work. We are alive to the impact of trauma whether specified in individual past experiences or not. Apart from ensuring we create a safe space for the women and setting clear boundaries to help them feel free, we physically meet participants where they are, in their communities and strive to build genuine relationships.
Even with these conscious steps, we realized that there is need for additional mental health support. We have now introduced a counselling program run by certified counsellors Grace, Rachel and Pamela. This is a new addition to the program, creating much needed access to mental health care. The sessions were introduced at Kamirithu village this month in an informal group session. The counsellors run both group and individual counselling sessions that are 100% voluntary as we are careful not to re-traumatize any woman who may not be willing to share her experiences. In addition to this, there are women leaders who have expressed intense interest in gaining professional counselling certificates. Those who qualify for the course will undergo training by a certified counselling training institution so they are able to offer additional support to their communities.