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World Health Organisation launches Drupal-based EQUIP mental health tool

The learning and assessment platform designed and developed by SystemSeed is now live

EQUIP - the mental health support training and assessment tool from The World Health Organisation and UNICEF - has been launched to help people in low and middle-income countries, when access to mental health support is limited.

EQUIP (Ensuring Quality In Psychological Support) was launched on 31st March with a live WHO (World Heath Organisation) webinar to over 600 professionals in the mental health field.

This launch is the culmination of over two years of user design, technical development, and testing by the EQUIP team, George Washington University, SystemSeed, and 28 global field partners.

More than 97% of people in low and middle-income countries do not receive minimal adequate care for depression. Due to the new EQUIP platform, organizations working in early intervention mental health scenarios around the world are now able to train and assess mental health ‘helpers’ who work to assist individuals who are going through mental health crises.

Depending on the type of intervention and the client group that they are working with, organizations can select different training courses, assessment modules, and languages - all in one place.

We’re delighted to help deliver EQUIP into the hands of the organizations that can use it best. As a social-impact-focused agency, projects like EQUIP are why SystemSeed exists. I’m proud of our team members who worked on this project and the technical excellence that made it happen

Anthony Fox-Davies
CEO, SystemSeed

George Washington University developed the model for EQUIP, which was originally based on in-person training and a paper-based assessment process. In order to scale and streamline their model, EQUIP had to be brought online. This need was further exacerbated by the Covid pandemic, which meant that groups could no longer meet for training, assessment, or mental health support delivery.

EQUIP in action with Socios En Salud - A Peruvian field partner

SystemSeed involvement

EQUIP is one of several digital health projects that SystemSeed has been part of over the last two years. We have worked closely with WHO, UNICEF, George Washington University and the partner stakeholders to design a system in EQUIP that is easy to use and that works on low-spec tablet devices - even when offline. 

We used human-centred design (HCD) principles to inform the user experience (UX), which meant analysing how all users interacted with the EQUIP model, defining user journeys, and testing prototypes incrementally to arrive at the best solution. 

Our Head of UX, Elise West, acted as both product owner and HCD lead for the project, working with end-users and field partners.

UX is a hugely important part of any project - and this is especially significant when a platform has the potential for significant social impact

Elise West
Head of UX, SystemSeed

SystemSeed is also the development partner for this project and we have brought our extensive Drupal experience to the development, hosting and support of EQUIP. 

Using our Agile approach - which is common to all SystemSeed projects - we started by developing an MVP based on our ANU LMS distribution, and were able to pivot quickly to provide a remote-delivery learning site when Covid hit

Since then, we have built out the EQUIP platform, providing functionality for multilingual translations, and a highly versatile assessment tool. EQUIP is currently available in English, Spanish, Arabic, French and Nepali - and organizations can contact the EQUIP team directly to discuss adding new languages.

What is EQUIP?

EQUIP enhances training and supervision for improved mental health and psychosocial support services.

Around the world, millions of people experience mental health problems but most of them still do not receive treatment. Fortunately, most people with appropriate training and supervision can play a role in helping others in distress.

EQUIP provides guidance and tools to assess and monitor competencies in helpers to enhance training and supervision and build safe, effective and high-quality services.

How it works:

  1. Role-play assessment - Run a realistic role-play with helpers.
  2. Assess helper's skills - Use EQUIP tools to reliably assess helper competencies.
  3. Give feedback - Spot any potential harms or areas of improvement and give helpers feedback.
  4. Ensure quality - Assess competencies on an ongoing basis and tailor training and supervision according to helpers' needs.

The digital assessment tool makes competency assessment easier, tracks helpers' progress, and helps with reporting. It works offline and allows assessors to immediately view the assessment results in easy-to-analyze graphs for rapid and effective feedback, training, and service planning. Assessors are also able to download the results of assessments for quick reporting. 

EQUIP is currently in use by several organizations around the world to run their own mental health support training and assessment programmes, including the Peruvian example from Socios En Salud in the video above..

WarChild Holland have a specific approach to working with with children called WeACT. They train and assess the WeACT frontline workers using EQUIP. 

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