The Mental Health Well-being Training

The Mental Health Well-being Training


The “Mental Wellbeing Training” was a five-session extensive online training on mental health and wellbeing facilitated by the Lady Fatemah Trust (LFT) and delivered by Ms. Maria Pattinson – an established mental health trainer and professional. The training was conducted in five sessions for the three prospective female mental health trainers hired by the Dehkada Mehr as well as the organization’s employees.

Under the LFT’s plan to provide mental health and wellbeing support to beneficiaries of its various projects, such as Mothernomics and learning centers the training specifically aimed to provide the trainees with in-depth knowledge and understanding of mental wellbeing, issues around it, and all factors affecting it in a professional manner. Moreover, the training was aimed at equipping the trainees, especially the three psychosocial and mental health trainers with sufficient knowledge and expertise in the field of mental health to enable them to deliver psychological and mental health support and function as Community Fit Champions.

Learning objectives

The main objective of the training was to:

  • Provide the trainees with a thorough and science-based knowledge and understanding of mental health, the conditions related to mental health, and all issues surrounding it;
  • Enhance the participants’ skills and abilities to better understand mental wellbeing and recognize the factors contributing to mental health conditions; and
  • Share examples, experiences, case studies, and best practices in the mental well-being field to further enrich the participants’ learning and better equip them with the skills and toolkits to be able to convey the knowledge they gained to others as well as provide mental health counseling and support.

Training Content

The whole training period was divided into five separate sessions with each session containing a number of subjects in the area of mental health and wellbeing.

Following are the subjects and topics covered in the training sessions:

Session 1:

  • Introduction to the mental well-being concepts: the concepts and terminologies around mental well-being were introduced and talked about to give participants an initial understanding of the training theme.
  • Community Fit and its action plan: Community Fit was explained and the action plan was discussed with the participants to help them know what the action plan means in the context of Community Fit and what elements combine to constitute the action plan. Besides, the learning outcomes of the community fit and who the Community Fit Champions are were discussed.
  • Understanding mental health: their ideas and here, the term “mental health” and what it meant to the trainees were discussed with participants sharing trainers talking about it. The trainers gave common definitions and provided explanations regarding the topic.
  • Stress and vulnerability: stress, its causes, and stress container were described by the presenter and then group exercises were done and examples and factual experiences were shared by the participants.
  • The mental health continuum: the meaning and rationale of the mental health continuum were discussed at this point and case studies in relation to the continuum and cases surrounding minimum and maximum mental wellbeing and diagnoses were carried out in the group.
  • ALIVE first aid actions for Community Fit: the ALIVE first aid model was described and explanations were given on each element of the model, the method of its application, and the importance of its element.
  • Prevalence and impact: prevalence and impacts of mental health conditions were discussed at this point with official figures given around each disorder/problem.
  • Stigma and discrimination: similarly, these terms were discussed in detail as the factors preventing recovery and what impacts they can create for those with mental health conditions.

Session 2:

  • Anxiety and depression: anxiety and depression as the two most common mental health disorders were discussed in the session and the trainees shared their experiences of the conditions and had a question and answer session.
  • Frame of reference: this term was discussed along with the factors influencing one’s definition of him/herself, other people, and the world. Also, the factors that affect a human’s frame of reference were covered.
  • Risk and protective factors for mental health: the societal and individual risk and protective factors were discussed and an assignment was given to the participants.
  • CBT and thinking disorders: Cognitive Behavior Therapy and thinking disorders were discussed with practical experiences and examples shared by the group.
  • “L” of ALIVE: listening to a person in need of mental well-being support, its importance, and the qualities of a good listener were explained and exercises performed.

Session 3:

  • Being a carer: the carer’s role, responsibilities, and the need for being a carer were talked about in the third session.
  • Alcohol, drugs, and mental health: substance misuse and its impacts on the mental health of individuals were discussed. Furthermore, the reasons leading individuals to misuse substances such as drugs and alcohol and how they can be prevented were also covered.
  • Psychosis: psychosis, different cultural understandings of psychosis, general symptoms of psychosis, and the factors causing it were talked about and the participants also shared their ideas, real-life scenarios and asked questions.
  • Disorders often confused with mental health conditions: those disorders often confused with mental health conditions were elaborated on.

“A” of ALIVE: the first component of the ALIVE Model “Ask, Assess, Act” was discussed in depth.

Session 4:  

  • Self-harm: the meaning of self-harm, its impact, consequences, and influencing factors were discussed in the session with the group sharing examples of self-harm experiences in their surroundings or communities.
  • Suicide: suicide, suicidal thoughts, circumstances leading to suicide, and global figures around suicide were discussed.
  • “IVE” of ALIVE: The final three components of the ALIVE Model {introducing appropriate support, valuing self-help strategies, spiritual and social support, and encouraging access to professional help} were discussed, and case studies were applied in this regard.
  • Recovery model: what a recovery model is and what it includes were discussed.
  • Action planning for using Community Fit: understanding of action planning for using community fit was looked at again and insights were shared by the trainees and prospective Community Fit Champions.

Session 5:

  • Application of lessons learned in real-life scenarios: the opportunity was given to the participants to look back at what they learned throughout the training and how they can be implemented in their real lives of them as well as others to be supported.
  • Conclusion: the conclusion of the sessions was drawn with participants expressing their appreciation and thanks.
  • Questions and answers around the topics covered: a Q & A time was given to answer the unsolved questions on ambiguous and difficult areas.
  • Quiz on suicide: A quiz was done by the participants with reflections from the trainers.

Learning outcome

As a result of this training, the participants got both a clear and profound understanding of mental wellbeing concept, mental health conditions, causes of mental illness, signs, and symptoms of mental diseases, effects of mental problems in individuals’ normal life and behaviors, practical strategies and techniques applied to tackle mental health problems and generally what short-term and long-term solutions are available to those affected to control, reduce or eliminate the problems stemming from mental health conditions.

This training helped the participants to look at mental health illness from a new perspective with completely new insights, ideas and expertise brought to the sessions by the trainer. Further, the training positively impacted the mental health condition of the trainees in the first place, and the quality and the method with which the training was offered exceptionally interested the participants in further exploring the concepts and knowledge in the second place. Similarly, it refreshed the trainees in an incredible way and gave them the ability to not only update their mental health care and knowledge but also transform their perceptions of mental health in a unique manner.

Although the three female trainees were graduates of psychology, they lacked an informed and updated understanding of mental health and its contributing factors to a somewhat greater degree but the training helped them alter their understandings tremendously. Particularly, the topics discussed throughout the training gave a fresh outlook on the theme to the participants while transforming their perspectives and knowledge of the field.

Besides, the practices, case studies, and practical experiences shared during the training gave the participants a broader picture of mental well-being, provided them with greater inputs into the subject matter, and enhanced their skills and capabilities in the wake of professionally understanding mental health and acquiring the ability to provide counseling and assistance in this area. Given the content of the session, the participants were especially thrilled to learn about mental well-being, relevant factors, and circumstances leading to mental illness. They were also feeling strongly energized and excited as understanding mental health properly and being able to cope with its negative impacts is very interesting for both learners and those out in the community.

Considering the situation in Afghanistan, receiving such a training is extremely fruitful for every person as far as mental health problems and disorders largely exist in the vast majority of the people. Therefore, gaining the right knowledge and skills to improve public awareness about mental health conditions, provide the right counseling and support to those impacted, and fight these problems requires the provision of such trainings to train and enable some to act as professional Community Fit Champions.

Last but not the least, the trainees have now gained an improved knowledge of mental well-being and have the ability to convey it to others or help others mentally and psychologically.

Team participation

As the training was a very unique and interesting experience for the DMCO team, all participants took a very active part in the sessions and demonstrated a special enthusiasm for being part of such a program, learning and benefitting from it to the greatest degree possible. Throughout the training, all participants, especially the three would-be Community Fit Champions or Mental Wellbeing Trainers within the team shared their knowledge and insights in the session and continually sought to add more insights to what was being discussed.

Moreover, they shared real-life examples of mental health conditions and cases experienced in the context of their communities to make learning more practical and enhance learning outcomes. They also posed questions to the trainers which were drawing upon the results of their studies, hands-on experiences of mental health problems, and interactions with those having any of the mental health conditions in their families, relatives, surroundings, and ultimately their communities.

At the same time, the training content and materials were of particular importance to the trainees which strongly motivated them to further explore concepts and terminologies relevant to the training topic and study supplementary materials and sources to strengthen their expertise and knowledge in the field. Similarly, due to the nature and depth of the training, the trainees were very passionate about exploring and finding different sources and materials that could help them deepen their knowledge and improve their skills to better understand the role of Community Fit Champions and function as a champion effectively and professionally.

Training Effectiveness

The training was especially effective for the participants as it helped utterly change their perception of mental health and wellbeing and look at it from a fresher and more precise perspective. The training content and insights provided during the sessions gave a solid and research-based knowledge of mental conditions and the factors influencing them which were both noble and greatly enriching to the participants. Since the mental well-being of the people in Afghanistan is generally not good, almost everyone is feeling the effect in h/her everyday life and therefore needs mental health support. With this in mind, the participants in the training were also already experiencing some disorders or mental illnesses in their normal life or were, in some cases, impacted by some incidents. Thus, participating in this training gave them a considerable deal of psychological and mental comfort while enabling them to recognize the causes of their discomfort or problems most of which bears a meaningful connection with their mental health conditions.

For example, one of the participants says that he was feeling kind of hopeless and had lost hope in life but by taking part in this program he felt a significant change in his mental condition and could start regaining his hope, becoming refreshed and energized.  In addition, he says that he had sleep problems which were having a negative impact on his everyday life but since joining this training he is managing to overcome his sleep problem and sleep well. Also, he chose to have a regular exercise for one hour every day which is greatly useful and refreshing for him.  


The “mental well-being training” offered by the LFT in collaboration with Fikrafya to the LFT’s local partner team in Afghanistan was a very unique, fruitful, promising, and enriching experience for the team which helped participants learn a lot about mental well-being and its contributory factors, update their knowledge and information on the theme, and develop new know-how and skills in the area to be able to deal with mental health conditions. As for building the capacity of the prospective Community Fit Champions, the training gave them sufficient insights and provided them with applicable knowledge, adequate tools, techniques, and finally the ability to support other people in this respect.