Training & Technical Support

Training and Technical Support

Health Equity Initiatives provides technical support and training on mental health, refugees, and trafficked persons

Training of Care Providers for Trafficked Persons

HEI partnered with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in 2011 to conduct rapid appraisals to assess the psychosocial needs of victims of trafficking and care providers at three government-run shelters. The first of the three assessment reports was endorsed by the Malaysian government. Based on the gaps identified in the rapid appraisal, HEI was invited to conduct workshops on Responding to the Psychosocial Needs of Victims of Trafficking for care providers in these three government-run shelters.
In 2012, HEI developed the Basic Psychosocial Support Guidelines for Government Shelter Staff for survivors of trafficking based on the capacity building needs identified in the rapid appraisals and the care providers from these three workshops.

An outcome of this engagement was a two-year partnership with the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to implement a pilot project on the Provision of Psycho-Social Support for Care Providers at one Government-Run Shelter. From this engagement, HEI published a self-study manual titled “Human Trafficking and Mental Health: A Primer” that is available in English and Bahasa Malaysia.

Suicide Risk Prevention Workshop
HEI is a member of the Inter-Agency Mental Health and Psycho Social Support Working Group (IAWG-MHPSS). The members of IAWG-MHPSS are (in alphabetical order)

  • A Call to Serve (ACTs)
  • Afghan Community Center
  • Asylum Access
  • Buddhist-Tzu Chi
  • Health Equity Initiatives (HEI)
  • International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
  • International Organization for Migration (IOM)
  • Mercy Malaysia
  • Taylor’s University School of Medicine
  • The International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC)
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • Zam Refugee Organization

The IAWG-MHPSS seeks to provide peer support, and collectively build capacity for its members. In contributing to strengthening the capacities of the network, HEI’s Mental Health Services conducted a suicide risk prevention workshop for the working group in November 2016.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy Workshops (IPT)

Dr. Xavier Pereira, HEI’s Founder, Director and Mental Health Services Director, who is a Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist is also an Associate Professor at Taylor’s University, Malaysia. He received his certification in Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) in 2006 and subsequently gained certification as a supervisor and trainer in IPT. He has given plenaries and lectures, and conducted seminars and workshops on IPT. IPT is a time-limited psychotherapy designed at resolving interpersonal issues, and decreasing psychological distress.

Dr. Xavier has conducted two IPT workshops to date, one in 2012, with Professor Dr. Scott Stuart, and one in 2016. He also provides supervision for those who have completed their Level A certification and would like to further their certification in Level B.

Internships and Electives

As an organization of health professionals, in 2009, Health Equity Initiatives started an internship program for students of medicine and psychology with a view to support the formation of medical and health professionals with the capacity to think and act within a human rights framework.
The objectives of the program include the following:

  • To increase awareness and knowledge on the right to health including the key linkages between health and human rights, and, between human rights and medical ethics
  • To build skills to analyze and assess health issues from a human right based approach
  • To increase knowledge and sensitivity in relation to refugee health concerns
  • To facilitate exposure to the context of ill-health and problems with access to health care for disadvantaged populations in order to stimulate critical thinking, analysis and social action with regard to health.

This is done through field visits, research, discussions and theoretical overviews. HEI hosts elective students, interns, and medical students on short visits.

Additionally, Dr. Xavier Pereira, HEI’s Founder, Director and Mental Health Services Director, who is also Associate Professor at the Taylor’s University School of Medicine (TUSM), also ran a community based teaching clinic for MBBS students from TUSM during their posting in psychiatry.

The Internship and Electives program is open to students of medicine and psychology, with the following basic criteria:

  • 4th year clinical MBBS students
  • Psychology students who are completing their Master’s degree

The program requires a minimum of five weeks of participation. To date, students from Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia, Somalia, Sudan and Myanmar have completed the Health and Human Rights Internship and Electives for Students of Medicine and Psychology program. In all, 375 Students have participated in the Internship and Electives programs.

Training for Workers’ and Civil Society Organizations: Psychosocial Support for Migrant Workers in Malaysia

The training was held from 29th to 30th August 2022. The training was co-organized by HEI and the International Labour Organization (ILO). A total of 34 participants from 15 organizations attended the training

This was a follow-up to the capacity-building sessions run by HEI in an ILO-organized training for caseworkers of migrant workers in 2018

The objectives of the August 2022 training included:

  • To enhance the knowledge of service providers on the association between mental health and migrant experiences and manifestations of distress.
  • To increase the skills of the service providers in providing basic psychosocial interventions for the migrant communities.
  • To equip service providers with skills of stress management and self-care.

Anchored within an overview of mental health globally and in Malaysia and the challenges of the health system in addressing emerging mental health needs, the training focused on the following key learning areas:

    • The epidemiology of migrant mental health
    • Major mental disorders
    • The role of non-specialists in delivering basic psychosocial interventions in the communities of migrant workers to promote and protect the mental health
    • The MHPSS (Mental Health and Psychosocial Support) framework focusing on multi-layered services and support an organization could provide
    • Introduction to Trauma-Informed Care approach in managing cases
    • Practical psychosocial intervention skills in individual and group-based interventions
    • Self-care for case workers
      The lack of access to mental health services among migrants continues to highlight the need for psychosocial interventions in promoting and protecting their mental health. Let’s make mental health education, support, and treatment accessible for all.

    … more of our work

    Community Based Mental Health Programs

    Learn More

    Mental Health Services

    Learn More

    Evidence based advocacy

    Learn More

    Training and technical support

    Learn More

    People’s Health Forum

    Learn More