The course, which also had a Psychosocial Rehabilitation practicum (PSR) workshop involved seven participants from the outer islands and three from the Marshall Islands who were mental health and volunteer workers.
The trainers were Professor Dr Parameshvara Deva and Professor Dr Jenny Deva MD, Masters in Counseling from Malaysia who have been to the Cook Islands in the past and assisted with Te Kainga’s work and were involved with World Health Organisation assignments.
Dr Deva is the founder and past chairman of the Asian Federation of Psychiatric Association (AFPA), one of the main sponsors of the training course.
Marshall Islander Marita Edwin said she was glad to be part of “a great group of people” and the pratical training held at Te Kainga centre had been useful for her and two colleagues.
“We worked around the elderly people. The programme coordinator, Mereana Taikoko, is doing a great job and we admire how much she has put into the centre,” Edwin said.
Even though particpants’ cultures were different, the training had brought them closer together and they had shared a lot of ideas and plans that could help them with their work back in the Marshall Islands.
Another participant from the Marshall Islands, Henry Otuagi, said they would be taking what they had learned home and putting it to good use.
He said the Marshall Islands did not have a special mental health centre as there were only five staff and they had other responsibilities on the island.
“We would love for staff from Te Kainga to come over and see how we work. I think the frequent exchange of staff and training will help both islands,” he said.
The course ended with each of the 73 participants receiving a certificate of participation from Dr Parameshvara Deva.