Led by Dr. Wendi Schweiger-Moore, our NBCC International Capacity Building Department has long been on the front line of expanding the counseling profession to countries across the globe. Since 2003, we have engaged in multifaceted collaborations and engagement initiatives with global partners. Today, we have built relationships and partnerships around the world working towards advancing counseling and access to mental health resources to communities across the globe.
“Globalization is affecting all professions and counseling is no exception,” said Dr. Wendi Schweiger-Moore, Director of International Capacity Building. “It is important for counselors in the U.S. to reach out to our colleagues across borders toward mutual education and growth in professionalization. These efforts make our profession stronger and more united, allowing us a stronger voice toward advocating on behalf of those with mental health needs worldwide.”
While there are some similarities, each partnership caters to the unique organizational or community needs.
“Partnerships must be driven by a strong assessment and understanding of local needs. It takes time to educate ourselves toward this understanding and building a mutually trusting relationship requires commitment and intentionality.” Initially developed in response to a call to action by the World Health Organization, the Mental Health Facilitator (MHF) program is designed to meet the specific cultural and contextual needs of the communities it serves. The MHF program teaches foundational mental health knowledge and referral skills that allow helpers to form an initial connection, provide helpful information to other community members, and reduce the stigma attached to the utilization of mental health care services. This is a cost-effective way to help communities expand their understanding of mental health needs and resources available to meet those needs by engaging community members who are aware of those resources and able to refer individuals in need.
A large part of the impact that the MHF program has is stigma reduction. Through education and open conversation about mental health, people can gain the skills and confidence to serve as an advocate for mental health in their community.
For those who are currently mental health practitioners, NBCC Institutes offer participants the opportunity to expand their multicultural knowledge by engaging with new communities through service-learning experiences. Throughout the 8–10-day immersive experience, participants have the opportunity to learn about a new culture and their approach, opinions, strengths, and challenges with providing mental health services within the culture. NBCC Institutes are priced between $1,500 and $2,500 (discounted for NCCs) plus airfare, and include most meals, all accommodations, and activities that afford participants opportunities to learn more about the culture and communities where the institutes are held.
While priority is given to those that hold the NCC, any mental health professional can attend an NBCC Institute. Tentative locations in 2022–2023 are Bhutan, Rwanda, Uganda, and Vietnam.
Our International Capacity Building Department works tirelessly to adapt to the ever-changing needs of communities across the globe. To learn more about the department, their efforts, or upcoming opportunities to become involved, visit our website.