All Professional Bodies, National Associations (e.g. Mental Health, School, Guidance, Addiction, Faith-based etc.) and Accrediting Organisations.
Empower Pacific Solomon Islands
- Website: http://empowerpacific.com/empower-pacific-solomon-islands
- Organisation Size: N/A
Universities and Other Education and Training Institutes
Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres
Background & Context
The history of counselling in the Solomon Islands is unknown as there are no studies available online pertaining to mental health in this country. Counselling also does not seem prominent in the country as there is a limited amount of information on any counselling practices or counsellors available, other than a few non-profit organizations. However, the counselling services that are available are mostly targeted towards women and children who are victims to gender-based violence, which is prominent in the Solomon Islands. Per Jourdan (2008), a pan-Pacific project was enacted to study the correlation of masculinity, mental health, and violence. Although the date of the project is unknown, these are the only presentable efforts taken by the Solomon Islands to understand mental health and to provide education about it.
Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:
In 2006, the Ministry of Health created what is known as the Solomon Islands Integrated Mental Health Plan in order to provide better regulation on counselling services (Jourdan, 2008). This plan covers psychological illnesses such as depression and anxiety and it also regulates services provided for domestic violence and substance abuse (Jourdan, 2008). The parameters of the regulation on these topics was finalized in 2008, per Jourdan (2008). The progression towards regulation of counselling services, and the recognition of mental health issues, are tremendous first steps towards a healthier society regarding mental health issues. Although mental health issues were not a topic of discussion until the early 2000’s in the Solomon Islands, it has become an incredibly important issue
It is unknown how many practicing counsellors exist in the Solomon Islands. However, counsellors that currently practice in the Solomon Islands practice in settings including:
- Non-profit organizations
- Non-governmental organizations
- Acute care in the National Referral Hospital
Challenges & Trends
Counselling in Solomon Islands has focused on community counselling for victims of gender-based violence (GBV). In 2019, the country announced plans for releasing a Domestic Violence Counselling Guide to help improve support given to victims (Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, 2019). This is a positive step towards, hopefully, standardizing practices within the currently small counselling profession and possibly gaining interest to broaden the counselling scene in general.
The main challenges currently are that counselling is not formally established in the country, there is a lack of standardization to the system, as well as a lack of opportunity for counsellors to practice. Other challenges are the current counselling services are limited and those living outside of where the above mentioned NPOs and NGOs are located have a lower opportunity of seeking help. Lastly, for those living on the Solomon Islands who are interested in becoming a counsellor, the closest available counselling training providers are located in Fiji.
Additional Information & References
For a deeper exploration of the counselling profession in the country, interested readers are recommended to read the following journal & website articles:
- Jourdan, C. (2008). Youth and mental health in Solomon Islands: A situational analysis. Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific International. (pp. 1-57). https://fspiblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/solomon-islands-youth-and-mental-health-analysis-situation-analysis-march-08.pdf
- Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs. (2019). Better counselling services for domestic violence victims gets national support. http://www.mwycfa.gov.sb/resources-2/media-releases/45-better-counselling-services-for-domestic-violence-victims-gets-national-support.html?highlight=WyJjb3Vuc2VsbGluZyJd