Cambodia suffered several decades of war and civil unrest, which resulted in intergenerational trauma that has followed the country and its people through rapid socioeconomic development.
After the civil war, Cambodians continued to face societal problems such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, child labour, poverty, conflicts in land ownership, human trafficking, and maltreatment of migrant workers overseas.
Cambodians are in need of mental health support, yet there are only a few professionals in the field both in the public and private sector.
A newly formed Professional Health Counselling programme at the University of Puthisastra launches its first pilot class today by celebrating its first group of students and faculty.
The programme is designed to equip professionals who are willing and interested in working in this field, to the benefit of individuals needing mental health services and those providing it.
The course will cover theories surrounding mental health counselling and train students through guided fieldwork experience. It seeks to raise awareness on the importance of counselling as well as to encourage and support those aspiring to work in the field.
It also aims to reduce the risk of malpractice in this area of health. Through this course, students learn how to break through the culture of silence and stigma, and to support others by providing them a safe space to do the same.