Based on Knowledge, Attitude, Practice and Skills (KAPS) study and other frequent qualitative studies, UNICEF developed an innovative radio program in Nepali: “Saathi Sanga Man Ka Kura ( SSMK )” in 2001. It is the centerpiece of UNICEF’s communication initiative for young people which is the first radio program produced by the young people and for the young people in Nepal. It is designed to be interactive with listeners as a peer who speaks their mind without moral judgment. SSMK uses life skills principles and values of counseling to help the listeners.
It is wonderful to see the immense success and positive impact of SSMK in the lives of young people all over Nepal through means of radio program. It has been 9 years and it is still going strong. The hosts of the program use the principles/basic values of counseling. In Nepal, mostly young people have very few persons to turn to share their problems and seek help from others. Unlike in Western countries where people live in therapy culture and professional help is available whenever necessary, this kind of radio program SSMK acts as a good alternative for that in context of Nepal.
Counseling is exactly the talking with a trusted friend. In a session, counselor helps a client to understand his or her problems rather than solving it. Counselor supports the client by listening non-judgmentally, exchanging ideas without reinforcing his/her own values, being empathic and keeping the information shared by a client totally confidential. Counselor never tells the client what to do or not to do, the task of the counselor is simply to journey together with a client, observe and support in the process of problem-solving and reawakening inherent capacity for self-awareness & problem-solving in the client. There is a doubt among some of the people and they ask if counseling really helps because for them, it is simply talking and they do not see the intervention like the doctor giving a medicine to a patient. Listening is a great intervention and support for the human hearts. Counseling is really effective and helpful in solving adjustment and psychological problems.
Even in urban areas where most of the counselors and mental health professionals are working, people are not aware that they have to seek for support when they have some kind of problems. Resources are very scarce in Nepal in terms of psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, counselors, psychiatric social workers and para-counselors. And the other reason why most of the people are not able to receive help when they seek it is due to the lack of proper information where such help can be available. The field of mental health support is still growing slowly and there is a need of professionalism to take this field forward.
See: https://sujenman.wordpress.com/psychology-in-nepal/related-ngos-agencies/ (For NGOs & Agencies, where counseling and other services related to mental health is available).
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I appreciate the good work of SSMK!! Know more about them: http://www.ssmk.org/