At the recent Postpartum Support International conference in Portland, OR, I was thrilled to finally meet Linos Muvhu who is the Chief Team Leader with SPANS - the Society for Pre and Post Natal Services in Zimbabwe. Linos and I had connected previously through facebook and I was immensely inspired by his passion and commitment to improve perinatal mental health in Africa.
Linos attended our Becoming Us breakout session at PSI, read the book afterwards and, to my surprise and delight, shared that he considers the Becoming Us approach very relevant to families in Zimbabwe and that our aims with Becoming Us also align with what SPANS hope to achieve, which is raising awareness and training professionals, para-professionals and community leaders to support mental health and strengthen family foundations.
So... after much discussion in the weeks since, I am incredibly honoured, humbled and proud to share that the Becoming Us relationship developmental approach to parenthood will be part of a new Diploma for Systemic and Developmental Therapy in Paternal, Maternal and Child Mental Health, taught throughout Zimbabwe by the SPANS team. Africa will be leading the world with this new and innovative training and it makes my heart sing to think of the families and communities that will benefit from this!
As Linos, the team and I all agree that live training is the most effective way to share our knowledge, experience and skills (I expect to be doing more learning from the team than teaching), it looks like I may be jumping on a plane to Zimbabwe soon!
On a personal note, as someone who had hoped for, but wasn't able to do, a planned-for doctorate because of PMH issues many years ago, the opportunity to make a real and meaningful difference to perinatal mental illness prevention and early intervention services means so much to me.
The term “global village” has never been more apparent to me than it is now. If you’d like to be part of it too, please consider supporting SPANS by donating to their Climb Out of the Darkness Event. Climb out of the Darkness is an initiative organised by Postpartum Support International to honour the struggle to overcome perinatal mental health issues. The struggle is real. Funds will go towards the 2nd International SPANS Conference for Maternal Mental Health in September 2019 with the aim of raising awareness and improve accessibility to perinatal mental health support for mothers, fathers and families in Africa.