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Ruhbaru Mental Wellbeing Session at IDSP

TRuhbaru relentlessly makes efforts to not only help individuals cope with mental health issues but also to cultivate an overall healthier mindset in the society. Working on the same ideology, Ruhbaru conducted a very interesting mental wellbeing session at IDSP with the midwives of Balochistan on 19th February 2021.

The aim of this session was to empower midwives of Balcohistan by increasing their knowledge on mental wellbeing and to create a community of lay counselors that could cater to the rural population of Balochistan. The session focused on creating awareness on various psychological issues such as trauma, grief, stress, anxiety, and antenatal and postnatal depression, and how to deal with these at a basic level.

The session consisted of 17 beneficiaries from IDSP, including the midwives and the IDSP management. The introduction was given by the Ruhbaru Project Associate, Mahnoor Shah and Clinical Psychologist, Gul-e-Aqsa conducted the major part of the session which was divided into two parts i.e., theoretical and practical. Theoretical part was all about the basic education i.e. identification, causes and types of trauma, grief, anxiety, prenatal and postnatal depression. Under practical aspect, midwives were taught techniques of deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and basic counseling based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy model.

Ruhbaru takes great pride in the success of the mental wellbeing session at IDSP in terms of educating the midwives about prevalent mental health problems and ways to deal with them subsequently. The active participation and enthusiasm of the midwives definitely adds to the success of the session.

Ruhbaru goes to Sukkur and Khairpur

The year 2020 started off with a pandemic that shook the whole world to the core, many people lost their loved ones, and many are still dealing with the loss that came along with it. With all these unfortunate events, people’s mental health was tested and tried to a great extent. While people in Urban areas are and have been privileged enough to get therapies, people from Rural areas were left with no such advantages.

Therefore, to cater to their needs, and give them a helping hand Ruhbaru took on a challenge to go beyond and conducted two Ruhtalks on 28th December in Sukkur And Khairpur. The sessions were conducted online by the Project Associate, Mahnoor Shah during a Humqadam graduation ceremony, where she educated the beneficiaries about prevalent mental health issues, how to identify them and how to deal with them. The beneficiaries were provided with a baseline survey that comprised of 15 and 18 questions respectively, a total of 18 beneficiaries from Sukkur and 16 beneficiaries from Khairpur attended the session.

The Ruhtalk was initiated by asking beneficiaries to do a ‘Mental Health Check-In’, Mahnoor Shah gave a brief introduction about what mental health is and how we can identify common mental health issues. She educated the beneficiaries about common mental health illnesses i.e., Anxiety, Depression, General Anxiety Disorder, Anger Issues, Schizophrenia etc.

Keeping in mind that the session was taking place in Rural Sindh, the primary language for the session was Urdu with a hint of Sindhi. The material presented was mostly visual that managed to capture the attention of the beneficiaries.

Moreover, the beneficiaries were encouraged to talk about their mental health and seek help if they identify any symptom in themselves or in someone in their surroundings. The beneficiaries were also provided with Ruhbaru’s social media platform and number that can be used to reach Ruhbaru.

The overall session was very informative and beneficiaries from both Sukkur and Khairpur were happy to have attended the sessions and they encouraged the people from Ruhbaru to conduct such sessions more often.

Ruhtalk- A Doorway to Soul Discovery

Mental health is a taboo in Pakistan, and people still find it hard to talk about it because of the stigma attached to it. Therefore, to combat the stigma, Charter for Compassion’s project Ruhbaru conducted its first Ruhtalk on 20th October 2020, at the Nanakwara Center.

The session on mental health was conducted by Associate Psychologist, Mahnoor Shah. The Ruhtalk informed the beneficiaries of Mumkin on the common mental health illnesses in Pakistan, their symptoms, how to help someone who is going through those mental issues.

The session was kept interactive and light, the Associate Psychologist kicked off the session with Mental Health Check-ins from the beneficiaries, so they relate to the topic on hand i.e., Mental Health. The beneficiaries were fairly open to talking about mental health issues they face, the ‘Mental Health Check-in’ served as a powerful icebreaker and got the beneficiaries to relate to the topics better when they were discussed during the session. It was observed that the beneficiaries talked more openly when examples were given related to their circumstances and current situation.

The primary language used during the Ruhtalk was Urdu, the beneficiaries were encouraged to seek professional help if they see these symptoms within themselves and their loved ones. Ruhbaru’s social media platforms and number were also shared with the beneficiaries.

After the session, beneficiaries eagerly reached out to the Associate Psychologist and discussed some issues they were currently dealing with. The Associate Psychologist helped them with understanding how to register for sessions on Ruhbaru in order to deal effectively with mental health and well-being.

WonderTree & Ruhbaru- Envisioning A Better Future

Charter for Compassion’s project Ruhbaru was invited by WonderTree to conduct an online session to talk about “Learning Through Play.” WonderTree is an Edtech organization that creates virtual reality games, specially designed for the therapy, and learning of children with special needs. The session took place through an online portal called StreamYard on 20th November at 4 P.M, and was shared on Facebook to help masses understand how play in classrooms can help children learn, and how it can shape their personality for future.

The event was moderated by S. Bilal Rizvi, Director Special Projects WonderTree and the participants from CFC included Mahnoor Shah, Project Associate Ruhbaru and Maryam Mehboob, Manager Liaison and Engagement.

Play therapy has a lot of misconceptions attached to it, mostly related to its effectiveness. S. Bilal Rizvi talked about his experience with Virtual gaming and how it has helped children with special needs. While Mahnoor Shah and Maryam talked about CFC, why there are stigmas attached to Play therapy and, researches on Play therapy.

By the end of the session, both the parties answered frequently asked questions related to Play therapy, it’s role in shaping children’s personality, it’s effectiveness and the future and importance of Play therapy in Schools in Pakistan.

The session was a success and the interaction between the participants helped clear out misconceptions that are attached to Play therapy. Participants encouraged others to be a part of such sessions and also recommended to conduct such sessions more often and talk about mental health to help the community.

Play in Classrooms – An Innovative Spin on Teaching

Charter for Compassion Pakistan (CfC), under their project Ruhbaru, conducted an online training session on implementing Play Techniques in the Classroom to teach the 9 compassionate skills to students. The training took place on zoom with teachers from the following schools in Sukkur: GGHS Arain, GHS Bedal Bekas, GHS Abad Lakha, GHS Dodanko, Government (National) Modern High School; and in Khairpur: GHS Kourogoth, GHS Tando Nazar Ali, GHSS Setharja and GHSS Hussainabad.

The training was conducted by an Associate Psychologist that lasted four days with each district i.e. Sukkur and Khairpur. The first day consisted of introducing the teacher to what ‘play’ is, its importance, and benefits in the classroom. The teachers were also introduced to play therapy techniques related to the 9 compassionate skills i.e. mindfulness, empathy, gratitude, courage, humility, forgiveness, integrity, self-compassion, and altruism.

The training was a relatively new concept for the teachers but they showed immense interest and learned how they can incorporate play techniques in their classrooms to teach the 9 compassionate skills and their subjects.

On the last day, the teachers were divided into groups and were asked to represent a mock lesson plan that included a 'play technique' and one of the compassionate skills for a subject. The teachers thoroughly enjoyed the mock and showed great learning.

After the training, CfC shared two booklets with the teachers that consisted of play techniques that can be used for each skill. The two booklets were divided according to grades i.e. Grade 1 to 5 and 6 to 10.

This training was the first of its kind and both private and government teachers actively took part in it, which was a clear reflection of the training’s success. Looking at the response, CfC intends to expand its reach and will be conducting more such sessions with teachers from both private and public schools to ensure that every classroom adopts play techniques for better development of children.