In Practice

The BRAC Paracounsellor Model

The BRAC Paracounsellor Model is a 4-tier referral pathway to ensure mental health support to beneficiaries. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the model transitioned to a blended modality. The recruitment of paracounsellors, their training, workshops, skill tests, documentation, regular supervision, etc. were moved online. Concurrently, psychosocial services were provided through mobile feature phones as most beneficiaries do not have access to smartphones.

Depending on the availability of resources and/or context, the modality of the training process is determined. The paracounsellors take a 5-day basic skills training programme. Post training, the paracounsellors go through a one-month online handholding process during which they learn from an experienced paracounsellor. After this handholding process, the first assessment of the paracounsellor is conducted. Post assessment, the paracounsellor is permitted to work with beneficiaries and become familiar with the ICT requirements. After three months, the second assessment is conducted. Subsequently, refresher CPD training sessions strengthen the skills of paracounsellors.

Para-counsellor model (online and/or offline) depending on availability of resources/context

Simultaneously, psychologists provide training and supervision to paracounsellors. The blended modality of the skills development process of paracounsellors ensures the model can manoeuvre depending on the availability of resources and context. For instance, effective skills development channels are usually sustained online, but when needed, the concerned psychologist might address the concerns of the paraprofessional in-person. The validated tools used in this model (GHQ-12, PHQ-9, SDQ, KAP, Child Screening tools, etc.) were all adapted to the Bangladeshi and Rohingya cultural context to screen and access the beneficiary’s specific mental health concerns/needs. In addition, fidelity tool(s) are used to assess the competency of the paracounsellor regarding their skills and how proficiently they apply them. Regular monitoring is ensured by uploading all relevant data to a secure and encrypted platform (TAROWORKS). These data are kept confidential. Data security enables different groups – psychologists, monitoring & research team, and software team to coordinate while upholding safeguarding policies.

Training process of paracounsellors depending on the availability of resources/context


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