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KAIPTC-GIZ completes training of first cohort in Mental Health and Psycho-social Support Course in Peace Support Operations

The Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre has completed its training for the cohort of participants in the Mental Health and Psycho-social Support Course in Peace Support Operations.

The course which is the first of its kind was developed by the KAIPTC with support from GIZ to help professionals in peace operations deal with mental health crisis before, during, and post-deployment.

This follows findings from a recent baseline study conducted by the award-winning think-tank stressing the need for Mental Health and Psycho-social Support (MHPSS) training for personnel involved in Peace Support Operations and Humanitarian Assistance.

Participants of the MHPSS, which is the first of its kind in the sub-region were taken through different modules on how to handle deployment and post-deployment-related crisis among other challenges.

Head of Programme and Support to the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre, Hannes Fabian Lambrecht says “I that this is a very important milestone on the way forward, because such a training course has not been established yet by any of the Training Centres of excellence on the African continent”.

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According to him, “there is a desire and the need on the side of Peace Support Operation personnel to deal with causes of stress or traumatic experiences and I really have to appreciate the KAIPTC for taking this up together with the GIZ”, stressing on the need for the Mental Health and Psycho-social Support course. Mr Lambrecht revealed that a review and assessment analysis will immediately be conducted on the pilot to help inform the mode, scope and target group for subsequent trainings.

The participants of the Pilot Course who were drawn from security agencies and medical officers in peace operations contributing countries say the training will greatly impact on their work.

They expressed preparedness to apply their acquired knowledge to improve the conditions of peace operations personnel. A participant and a Psychiatrist of the Ghana Police Service Superintendent Dr. Adwoa Nuro-Panin in sharing her experience said “mental health is a large burden on the global disease scale.

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…Everything that we do is based on how we view life, and so to be helpful to humanity, you need to be well. And so its best you take your own mental health and wellness as a priority to be able to pour out to the people around you.”

Another participant with the Nigerian Multi-National Joint Task Force(MNJTF), Squadron Leader Osazee Samuel Idemudia said “this course has been very helpful because it has broadened my knowledge on mental health issues. Too much emphasis is place on physical health and very little or no emphasis is placed on the mental of personnel that are deployed to conflict environment.

“…My acquired knowledge is going to assist me in engaging my organization prioritize mental health issues for troops. Secondly, post-deployment. This course is going to help me manage my own mental health in a better way” he added.