The Unicef Oman has joined hands with various ministries to reach out to people in need of mental support and counselling as they deal with undesirable situations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The global agency working for the general well-being of children in particular entered into a partnership with the ministries of social development, education and health in the sultanate to provide “training to 60 school counsellors, social workers and nurses to improve the provision of remote mental health and psychological support services (MHPSS) to children, adolescents and their parents across the nation”.
The training takes a ‘child centred’ approach, meaning that content is aligned with key child development milestones and child-friendly approaches, the Unicef Oman said. ‘While the COVID-19 crisis is, in the first instance, a physical health crisis, it has the seeds of a major mental health crisis as well, if action is not urgently taken.’
At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Oman’s Ministry of Health quickly established a toll-free national mental health hotline, with the aim of making mental health support easily accessible to all.
‘The ministry developed a training programme for psychologists and social workers on the provision of remote support to adults, and approached the Unicef to develop a training package tailored towards children, adolescents and their parents,’ it said.
The Unicef Oman representative Lana al Wreikat said that the mental health and well-being of the whole society have been severely impacted by this crisis, and added that “young people and their parents are particularly vulnerable”.
“Good mental health must be front and centre of every country’s response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are proud to support the Government of Oman in achieving this,” she said.
“This is a vital programme that has come at critical juncture in the COVID-19 outbreak,” Dr Nasser bin Suleiman bin Muhammad al Salmani, director of the School and University Health Department at the Ministry of Health, said.
“This has been a wonderful opportunity for school nurses providing mental health and psychological support services to improve their skills.”
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