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Assistance to our caregivers

Hello this is Sandy again in the month of March at Baanunrak. This time the children are on school break so we did a training for the mothers who are the caregivers at BU. The topic of our workshop was ‘Psychological First Aid’ (PFA).

Psychological First Aid in simple words is a supportive and compassionate presence to prevent stress from worsening, to de-escalate the stress and facilitate access to proper channels. PFA is a basic skill that can be used as primary care with people going through stressful situations. Much like taking measures to clean and dress a bleeding wound from a fall, just as we have to go to the doctor for a broken ankle , we must seek professional help in cases of serious mental disorders. PFA can be offered to anyone, regardless of age, gender, social status, who are exposed to stressful events.

The mothers took a short happiness indicator test which consisted of a 15 questions translated into 3 languages: Thai, English, and Burmese. The result for happiness scale for ‘good mental health’ scored at 75%, while only 25% scored ‘fair mental health’ on happiness scale.

One of the highlights of the workshop was the role play. Mothers were asked to pair up and do a role play where one person experienced a traumatic event and the other person is the helper in crisis events.

To my surprise, in addition to the situations prepared i.e. surviving destruction from an earthquake and someone dealing with depression, the mothers used the crisis situations they faced in real life in the role play. Some of the situations were: being in an accident, flooding and finding safety between guns firing in a civil war. The mothers reenacted the situation switching the role between victim and helper. We discussed what ways of communication, tone of voice, body language, eye contact, did they feel that helped them in that situation. Sharing ideas on what was considered a good communication, and bad communication, keeping in mind the PFA’s action Principals: Prepare, Look, Listen and Link.

There is no doubt that using the mothers’ personal experiences and the training provided by Baan Unrak help the mothers gain further knowledge and skills to provide care and assistance to children. The mothers have voiced their interest for next training to learn more ways to take care of their mental health. Lastly, I would like to thank Aye Zan for assisting with translation of Happiness Indicator Scale from English to Burmese, Mae Lek for her amazing interpreting from Thai to Burmese and Agnes Mary for sharing her resources for this workshop. I look forward to the next workshop in May when the children re back from the school summer holidays.

Have a lovely Songkarn holidays!

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