Feasible and reliable competency tools for global mental health are especially important as interventions are implemented and scaled up in the field. EQUIP (Ensuring Quality in Psychological Support), developed jointly developed by WHO and UNICEF, is a free digital platform that provides tools and e-learning courses to support governments, training institutions, and non governmental organizations.
EQUIP focuses on provider competency, defined as how well the provider is able to demonstrate treatment-specific skills (e.g., cognitive techniques, motivational enhancement, and behavioral activation) and foundational skills (e.g., building rapport, being empathetic, and active listening) for delivery of psychological interventions.
During its development phase, competency-based trainings for both intervention-specific skills and foundational skills were tested across the world with various interventions (e.g., Thinking Healthy Programme in Peru; Group Interpersonal Therapy in Uganda; Common Elements Treatment Approach in Zambia). Additionally, introductory trainings were developed to familiarize trainers with using the EQUIP platform and competency-based evaluation tools.
By conducting training and observations under standardized conditions, such as role plays, trainers can evaluate non-specialists’ abilities and specific skills to deliver the intended intervention. EQUIP also provides guidance for trainers to design and tailor their own training programs, supervision, and monitoring of progress.
In a recent comparative research study, trainers and supervisors who had access to using the EQUIP platform (in comparison to utilizing typical training materials) in Lebanon, Nepal, and Peru, were able to improve the competency of non-specialists and provide feedback to reduce the number of unhelpful behaviors when providing psychological support. Ultimately, EQUIP aims to build a stronger workforce to deliver safe and effective mental health and psychosocial support services for adults and children.
To access the EQUIP platform, click here. It is available currently in English, Arabic, Nepali, and Spanish, with more translations being developed.
To learn more about the EQUIP platform and its application in high, middle, and low-income countries, a recording of Dr. Brandon Kohrt’s presentation at the Columbia University Seminar on Global Mental Health is available here.