IAC Collaborates on WHO Counseling Tool

IAC collaborates on WHO's EQUIP tool


IAC was invited to send a representative to participate in a World Health Organization (WHO) training in Tunisia March 14-17. The training introduced EQUIP, a new mental health product that WHO is promoting to continue advancing the application of basic counseling and relational skills for mental health helpers and professionals. The 40+ representatives included experts from a variety of NGOs and world health associations. The participants provided feedback throughout the experience, and WHO offered clear efforts to improve the tool and understand the needs related to implementation of the tool across cultures.


The purpose and goals of the EQUIP are directly aligned with the objectives and mission of IAC, and summarized in the IAC vision: a world where counselling available to all. The EQUIP tool offers a thoughtful and practical way for training basic counseling and helping skills. This offers a promising strategy to make a significant impact in addressing global mental health needs, especially where professional services are limited or non-existent.


EQUIP is a competency-based program designed by WHO and UNICEF to enhance helping language to address mental health and wellness needs in ways that reflect the core elements of clinical mental health skills. The tool was developed particularly out of the work of Dr. Brandon Kohrt, psychiatrist and professor at George Washington University. The concepts related to this competency tool offer descriptions of counseling skills that are common to the profession, yet this resource offers operationalized descriptions to the competencies that are pertinent to mental health professionals, helpers, and counselors offering support in a variety of contexts.


The foundational tool of EQUIP is the ENACT tool that provides systematic, concrete supervision strategies and descriptions. Additional resources are available, which build off this initial strategy, including assessment tools, role-play narratives, role play videos, and others. EQUIP is a way for organizations to have some degree of understanding of training for competency among the unlicensed workforce with basic concepts, but it also offers deeper competency measures to enhance greater knowledge and depth of insight.


The WHO designs all their tools (including EQUIP) to be open access. EQUIP is a research-based tool that provides standardized training in easy-to-understand modules that explore skills within the context of role play scenarios. The material offers a strong rationale for why this relational and focused method can enhance necessary areas of development that may need further refinement. EQUIP focuses on 15 areas of competency to provide benchmarks to identify ways that practice ‘do no harm’ principles, and they provide other developing and advanced approaches within these target areas of competency. This open access resource is available on the WHO website: https://equipcompetency.org/en-gb, solely for the purposes of advancing the knowledge and application of appropriate clinical, counseling, and helping skills.