Mind to Mind Myanmar

mental health matters

Our activities in 2015

Annual Fundraising Food Fair

Mind to Mind Myanmar would like to express heartfelt appreciation to all the contributors, volunteers and guests who made our food fair a success this year. Together we raised £750 for recent flood victims and £2,959.30 for Mind to Mind's ongoing work and intended expansion for mental health in Myanmar.

Annual Fundraising Bridgnorth Walk 2015

This year, our Team M2MM had 7 members: Dr. ChoCho Aye, Dr. Tin KoKo, Mr. Keith Lazzari, Dr. Aung Khaing Moe, Dr. Myo Ohnmar Myint, Miss Aye Aye Nyein and Dr. Nwe Winn Thein. Most except Dr. TKK and Miss AAN did the amended route of 20 miles. Two brave ones did the full 22 miles including the Brown Clee, the highest hill in South Shropshire! 

Our finish positions and times varied between 254 (5:20 hours) and 471 (6:30 hours) but we all completed this challenging walk with many inclines in this beautiful hilly rural county.

Please click here to support our effort in this walk and donate to our charity for our continued work in Myanmar.

Mental Health training for General Practitioners in Yangon and Mandalay

We are pleased to report that Mind to Mind Myanmar (M2MM) managed to organise two training courses for General Practitioners in two large cities of Myanmar. This is the very first collaboration between MMM and the Royal College of Psychiatrists Voluntary Scheme (RCPsych VS) using the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Plan - Intervention Guide (mhGAP-IG).The detailed project planning with Myanmar General Practitioners Society took nearly one year.

We used the funds raised at the London MMM Charity Food Fair in October 2014 for the educational matters which cover the printing of training manuals, venue hire, stationery and miscellaneous running costs. We have acknowledged this at both courses and the GPs thanked all the Myanmar families and friends in UK who have generously donated at the London Food Fair. M2MM would also like to express our warm appreciation and special thanks to all the volunteers and donors again.

A team of seven Consultant Psychiatrists from UK delivered the training: all are members of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK. Five of them are British, two are Myanmar.

We provided an intensive training programme. Each course was given over four days from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. It was based on experiential learning with a mixture of demonstrations, role plays, lectures and small group teaching rather than lectures only. It was a slow start on the first day but soon the participants got the hang of it, and the next three days turned into a lively and enjoyable learning experience, albeit a bit exhausting, for both trainers and participants. I was impressed to see the motivation of the participants who, despite the loss of income for four days, closed their clinics and attended the course every day on time with great enthusiasm.

The last day was the happiest climax for everyone. On behalf of the M2MM, Dr. Kyaw Hlwan Moe and I presented the completion certificates to the participants in Mandalay and Yangon. The leader of the RCPsych Team, Dr. Sophie Thomson shook hands with the participants and we took many lovely photos. It was exhilarating!

A total of 116 GPs were qualified for the completion certificate. Ten participants did not get the certificate as they missed out some teaching sessions.

In addition to teaching common mental health disorders, we also included an important topic on how to help reduce and end the stigma and discrimination in mental health. We learnt a lot from the group discussions. There were many “take-home messages” for both trainers and participants. It is such a joy to think that the knowledge and insight gained would benefit the patients of the participant-GPs in terms of better understanding, clinical care and treatment outcome.

Promoting the mental health within the mainstream health system

These educational sessions concern introduction and raising awareness of the importance of mental health among medical and nursing students so that when they become doctors and nurses they will be at least familiar with basic mental health services and management of common mental illnesses in the non-specialist primary care setting. Who knows? Some of them might become interested to specialise in mental health.

In Mandalay, approximately 70 medical students attended. I suspect that advertisement and organisation of the event could be better. In contrast, there were 1400 nursing students in the session at University of Nursing, Yangon. Nurses play a major role in mental healthcare and it was encouraging to see such a high attendance. We intend to do more sessions for students in the future.