The Good Practice Group

The Good Practice Group

The Good Practice Group is a ‘social business‘ that seeks to reduce the burden of human suffering in Sri Lanka and elsewhere through the development of good quality, equitable, accessible and sustainable mental health and psychosocial support services.

Mission statement

The Good Practice Group is concerned with the mental health and psychosocial dimensions of human suffering under conditions of crisis and everyday adversity. It works primarily through supporting and mobilizing networks of professionals and other stakeholders to work together on strategic interventions to improve services.

Summary of relevant work

The main thematic areas of work undertaken by The Good Practice Group are as follows: Mental health & psychosocial support in emergencies (eg. supervision of frontline workers; hosting global online network); Care and protection of children (eg. undertaking systematic evaluations; support to training; leveraging networks);  Core mental health services (eg. documentation of good practice; technical support to infrastructure and policy development);  Gender-based violence (eg. support to frontline workers; prevalence research);  Post-conflict reconstruction and development (eg. psychosocial accompaniment of community initiatives; technical advice and assessment).

The main activities carried out by The Good Practice Group are as follows:  Support to services & service providers (eg. supervision of fieldworkers; strategic planning and organizational development); Innovation for practice (eg. development of new financing models; piloting of new methodologies); Training & education (eg. curriculum development; delivery of training; delivery of regional courses); Knowledge production and exchange (eg. conducting research; supporting online platforms; academic outputs); Consultancy & external services (eg. conducting evaluations; providing advisory services; undertaking applied research).

Below is a selection of the contracted and self-financed work undertaken by The Good Practice Group during the period 2010-2014:

Core mental health services:

  • Studies of the roles and perceived training needs of key mental health & psychosocial support personnel in Sri Lanka
  • Establishment and documentation of a model kitchen in a long-term stay ward in a mental hospital
  • Ongoing training and peer supervision of mental health staff in four hospitals in Eastern Sri Lanka
  • Supporting the establishment of a novel category of community-mental health workers in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka
  • Design and fundraising for building mental health unit in northern Sri Lanka
  • Support to designing and development of a mental health trust concept to support public services
  • Assessment of post-war mental health services in Sri Lanka

Care and protection of children:

  • Support to establishment and functioning of child rights advocacy network, including advising on disaster response
  • Support to training of probation and child care officers in the Western Province of Sri Lanka
  • Strategic planning for child & youth programme unit of membership-based organization in eastern sri lanka
  • Advice on design of a child advocacy organization’s study on child sexual abuse prevalence study
  • Evaluation of child protection project on community protection mechanisms and de-institutionalization in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka
  • Support to design and implementation of a study on care arrangements for children of migrant workers

Gender based violence:

  • Facilitation of case disussions groups for women’s organization working on GBV in Batticaloa
  • Support for development of self-care and support capabilities of gbv case workers in Eastern Sri lanka
  • Facilitation of support for community workers engaging in GBV issues in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka
  • Advocacy for evidence-supported responses to GBV in Eastern Sri Lanka

International networking, collaboration and knowledge exchange:

  • Stewarding support and online-hosting services for global Mental Health & Psychosocial Support Network.
  • Support to steering global research study on “developing a research agenda for mental health interventions and psychosocial support in humanitarian settings in low- and middle income countries”
  • Support to steering development of IASC MHPSS Reference Group M&E Framework for Impact Measurement of interventions in emergencies

MHPSS in emergencies:

  • Testing of innovative approach to delivering PFA content via mass communications platforms after crises.
  • Training for a faith-based institution on providing support to its congregation after crisis
  • Organizational strengthening and strategic planning for a key service provider in Northern Sri Lanka
  • Development of Batticaloa Floods and Psychosocial Support guidelines
  • Delivery of training on ‘mental health and psychosocial support in conflict’ for South Asian practitioners
  • Training of South Asian regional practitioners on the IASC MHPSS Guidelines
  • Adaptation and translation of WHO manual on Psychological First Aid into Sinhala and Tamil
  • Training of corporate clients and community workers on delivering Psychological First Aid

Recent publications by GPG Associates include the following:

Francis, F. & G. van der Veer (2011) Field report: peer support supervision as a procedure for learning from practical experience in a mental health setting, Intervention, 9(2).

Francis, F., Galappatti, A. & G. van der Veer (2012) Field Report; Developing a responsive model of staff care beyond individual stress management: a case study, Intervention, 10(1).

Galappatti, A. (2010) Research to the Rescue? The need for empirical and theoretical work on wellbeing to shape MHPSS and development interventions in Sri Lanka, in Social Policy Analysis and Research Centre (SPARC) (ed.), Wellbeing and Development in Sri Lanka, University of Colombo.

Ganesan, M. (2011) Building up Mental Health Services from Scratch: Experiences from East Sri Lanka, Intervention, 9(3).

Patel, P.P., Russell, J., Allden, K., Betancourt, T.S., Bolton, P., Galappatti, A., Hijazi, Z., Johnson, K., Jones, L., Kadis, L., Leary, K., Weissbecker, L. & J. Nakku, (2011) “Transitioning Mental Health & Psychosocial Support: From Short-Term Emergency to Sustainable Post-Disaster Development. Humanitarian Action Summit 2011”, Journal of Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 26 (6).

Shanmugam, G. & S. Emmanuel (2010), A Study of Sexual Abuse of Adolescent Girl Children in Batticaloa: At least One out of Every Thirty Girls, Report, Save the Children in Sri Lanka

van der Veer, G & F. Francis (2011) Field based training for mental health workers, community workers, psychosocial workers and counsellors: a participant-oriented approach, Intervention, 9(2).

Tol, W.A., Patel, V., Tomlinson, M., Baingana, F., Galappatti, A. Silove, D., Sondorp, E., van Ommeren, M., Wessells, .M, & C. Panter-Brick (2012) “Relevance or Excellence? Setting Research Priorities for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Humanitarian Settings”, Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 20 (1).

Tol, W.A., Barbui, C., Galappatti, A., Silove, D., Betancourt, T.S., Souza, R.O., Golaz, A. & M. van Ommeren (2011) “Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Humanitarian Settings: Linking Practice and Research”, Lancet, Global Mental Health Series.

Tol, W.A., Patel, V., Tomlinson, M., Baingana, F., Galappatti, A. Silove, D., Sondorp, E., van Ommeren, M., Wessells, .M, & C. Panter-Brick (2011) Research Priorities for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Humanitarian Settings. PLoS Med 8(9).

Wettesinghe, K., Shanmugam, G. & S. Emmanuel (2012) Alternative Care giving of Migrant Workers’ Children. Report for Terre des Hommes (Tdh) of a study carried out in Ampara and Batticaloa Districts, Sri Lanka.

World Health Organization (2013) Sinhala Translation of “Psychological First Aid: A Field Guide”, The Good Practice Group.

World Health Organization (2013) Tamil Translation of “Psychological First Aid: A Field Guide”, The Good Practice Group.

Seeking collaboration with

Experts by experience/service users
Other organizations
Policy makers


Empowerment and service user involvement
Policy and legislation
Prevention and promotion
Task sharing
Training, education and capacity building
All mental health conditions
Families and carers
Humanitarian and conflict health
Sri Lanka