The concept of AVVRG Qld – Health Education Team (Q-HET) was born in late 2009, when a group of mental health clinicians wanted to make a difference by providing education and support to Mental Health staff at the Chau Duc Mental Health Hospital in Ba Ria/Vung Tau Province, Vietnam.
Through this partnership, Q-HET was able to learn from their mental health counterparts in Vietnam and gain greater insight into the cultural aspects of mental health in the region.
In October 2010, Q-HET made their first visit to Chau Duc Hospital, coinciding with the International Year of the Nurse with the theme Nurses – Making a Difference in Global Health. The campaign highlighted the contribution of nurses to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), with a focus on MDG 8 Global Partnership for Development. Q-HET has since worked towards MDG 17 “Partnerships for the Goals.”
Over the years, Q-HET has developed a strong partnership with Chau Duc Mental Health Hospital, resulting in subsequent visits in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2019. In 2013, the Director of Nursing from Chau Duc Hospital co-presented with Q-HET and the Victorian team at the International Council of Nurses Conference in Melbourne.
In December 2014, Q-HET presented at the 1st International Nursing Conference with an abstract and journal article titled “Transition to mental health nursing support program in Queensland, Australia – implications for developing mental health nursing in Vietnam” published in the Vietnam Journal of Medicine and Pharmacy (5(2) 2014).
In October 2015, Q-HET was invited to present at the Ceremony of 25 Years Foundation of Vietnam Nurses Association 7th National Nursing Scientific Conference in Hanoi. The team has continued to expand and now welcomes members from any part of Australia, which led to a name change to AVVRG Mental Education Health Team.
Currently, a partnership is being developed with the Vietnam Nurses Association and Pham Ngoc Thach University to develop a post-graduate mental health nursing program. The team’s goal is to work collaboratively with the university and healthcare providers to achieve this aim.
The old Chau Duc Hospital has been replaced with a larger 200-bed mental health facility in Ba Ria, which includes a child and youth mental health unit. As the staff members and services provided by the outpatient department have increased, Q-HET recognizes the need for continued education and training. Discussions will take place with the Head Psychiatrist and Director of Nursing in collaboration with the Chief Nurse Ba Ria/Vung Tau Province Ms. Huong before their next visit, scheduled for November 2023.
The AVVRG Mental Health Team’s achievements include visits to Chau Duc Hospital, presentations at international and national conferences, and the publication of a journal article. The team continues to strive towards its goal of developing a post-graduate mental health nursing program in Vietnam, with the support of its partners.