Helping people see their lives are worth living
Jenny Saunders’ work is pioneering new ways of treating mental health issues and trauma in Nepal
One day it might be a woman who was married too young, and who was trapped in a life she didn’t want. Another day, it might be someone who lost everything and everyone they loved to the devastating 2015 earthquakes. Their stories are different, but both people came to the same conclusion: one dose of a lethal pesticide, readily available over the counter, and it would all be over.
In places like Nepal, where people have suffered unimaginable trauma, and where there is a huge stigma attached to discussing mental health, suicide might seem like the only way out for some who are experiencing terrible suffering.
But BMS World Mission supporters are helping to change that.
The trauma of the 2015 earthquakes still affects people every day
BMS counsellor Jenny Saunders is working with the Elijah Counselling Training Centre (ECTC) in Kathmandu, training local people to become counsellors in communities across Nepal. Critical to the work is raising awareness of the symptoms of trauma. Jenny trains people to find individuals who are trusted in their local communities, so they can identify the symptoms and help people get support.
One of the first people Jenny trained was Binsa. Binsa then trained counsellors in rural communities.
“Counsellors in Nepal have very little access to supervision,” says Jenny. “So we want to promote a more holistic approach to supervision, in which we can supervise each other.”
That approach sees Jenny train her counsellors to work in peer groups to give each other the emotional support they need, and the structure to work ethically and professionally. Binsa saw this as a great opportunity for the people she worked with.
As they worked in rural communities, they would never be able to access the supervision they needed. But by approaching their training the way Jenny suggested, Binsa ensured they would be able to rely on each other to meet their support needs, and the needs of the people they were counselling.
Jenny helps save lives by ensuring people get the emotional support they need.
Jenny is undertaking further research into supervision techniques in Nepal. And she’s hoping to make as big an impact as she can. “We want to make changes at a policy level. We’d love it to be mandatory for counsellors to have supervision,” she says. It might not seem like that big of a deal on first reading, but Jenny’s work is putting the key steps in place to ensure that people won’t see suicide as the only way out.
“Without supervision, it’s very easy to burn out or not do a good job,” says Jenny.” You need someone to support you.”
BMS supporters are supporting Jenny’s work. That means they’re helping her save lives.
Jenny’s work is pioneering new ways of treating mental health issues and trauma in Nepal. But she and her colleagues still need your prayer. Please pray for:
Pray for the training centre’s work. Pray that more people will be able to support those still suffering from the 2015 earthquakes.
Pray for people with mental health problems in Nepal, and across the world. Pray that they know they aren’t alone, and that they receive the support they need.
Pray for Jenny, as she continues with her research in supervision techniques, and for her husband Andy in his teaching at The Nepal Baptist Bible College. Pray that they have energy and encouragement in all they do.
Pray for those who are today contemplating suicide. Pray for an overwhelming sense of God’s love
This story was originally published on the BMS World Mission website and is used with permission