Malaysia: building mental health skills with refugee and marginalized communities

Partnering with HumanKind to deliver programs cultivating psychological flexibility
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Mental health programs that strengthen community leadership, solidarity, and resilience 

Together with HumanKind, we have worked with marginalized leaders and their communities since 2020 to create programs that are centered on their lived experiences and build psychological skills. Our initial design process centered on Rohingya refugee women of the Rohingya Women’s Development Network (RWDN) based in Kuala Lumpur. 

With women leaders and community volunteers, we created the Resiliency Program in 2021. Based on Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT), this evidence-driven program seeks to teach simple mental health skills that lead to psychological flexibility.

In 2022, the program was piloted with a collaboration between facilitators from HumanKind and RWDN. As a result of community engagement in the design, the program led to outstanding outcomes, including high levels of commitment and engagement from participants, as well as improved self-awareness, stability, mutual support, and values-derived action within the group.

Now in 2023 and beyond, we are collaborating on the process of replicating this program with more marginalized communities in Kuala Lumpur, along with those who support them. 


Key areas of partnership:

  • Designing effective programs with marginalized populations in Malaysia, centered on ACT, an evidence-based model for psychological flexibility
  • Training and adaptation with local community organizations to strengthen leadership and staff 
  • Increasing program usability and accessibility through continued collaboration and innovation with local community members
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