The Mental Health Facilitator (MHF) program, initially conceptualized in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and developed by NBCC International (NBCC-I), is designed to improve access to community-based mental health care, targeting the imbalance between mental health care needs and resources. The MHF program consists of a training framework and a defined set of helping skills, and generates a registry of individuals who have completed the training. The program is only offered at the request of and in collaboration with local partners such as educational institutions, government agencies or private enterprises. Those partners and EBCC work together to adapt the program to reflect local norms before any training is done.
The intent is not to create a new mental health profession, but rather to provide individuals with the tools and skills necessary to identify mental health needs, make referrals, and work with and support those in need of mental health care. Mental Health Facilitators are not a new professional group, they retain their professional identity and augment their work with MHF skills, complementing existing care resources. Depending on the need, MHF registrants may be initial helpers of choice, serve as referral sources for professional mental health services, or both.
More than 450 million people globally live with unmet mental health care needs. Existing service resources are overwhelmed and, in many areas, there are no services at all. The only possible solution to respond to these needs is to expand service capacity.
Through training and skills practice exercises, the MHF curriculum prepares community-based helpers to:
Who are the MHFs?
MHFs can be any community members (e.g., medical doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers, volunteers) with or without formal mental health training.
MHF program developers do not intend to introduce MHFs as members of a new profession. Providers retain their own professional identity (e.g., physician, teacher) and add mental health facilitation skills to their practice.
The role MHFs have, in the overall spectrum of services, is defined on a context-by-context basis.