Porto Forum: Innovative strategies for mental health education

The authors and presenters from Maudsley Simulation, London were the winners of the 3rd prize in the ‘best oral communications’ category of the EFPT Scientific Programme in Porto, 2015. They spoke about Innovative strategies for mental health education in low and middle income countries (LAMICs) and drew on their international experience in designing and implementing innovative education programmes, both in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.

The presentation was interactive, and included a discussion utilising several case studies to highlight the complexities and challenges involved in the design and implementation of mental health education and training into different low and middle income settings. The session highlighted the need to consider sustainability of educational interventions, as well as the importance of partnership working, effective stakeholder analysis, and an understanding of the local cultural appropriateness of interventions. The authors explored, in detail, the effectiveness of a programme of ‘human factor workshops’ that took place across Sri Lanka, and a smaller programme of simulation workshops in Zimbabwe. Both sets of results revealed statistically significant results supporting the relative interventions. However, what was more interesting was the fact that translating innovative educational strategies requires clear and careful thought about resources, and needs to be done in a locally acceptable, cost effective manner. The presentation was well received and discussed developments in global mental health training and educational policy such as the World Health Organisation’s ‘mental health gap’.

The authors enjoyed their experience at the EFPT Scientific Programme and found the programme varied and informative. The extensive social programme accompanying the scientific programme ensured that the authors’ time in Porto was well spent. All three authors and presenters gained a clear insight into the potential, purpose and vision of the EFPT and used the experience to forge an ongoing EFPT – Maudsley Simulation exchange programme, that all EFPT members interested in learning ore about Simulation Learninng are welcome to apply for. Maudsley Simulation continues to work tirelessly to promote innovative, inter-professional training for mental health professionals and the wider workforce, with the ultimate aim of improving patient outcomes and promoting patient safety.

The authors are all members of Maudsley Simulation and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation trust.


Asanga Ferndando