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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 310-315

Diasporic identity and transnational belonging: reflections from supporting mental health services in the Rohingya camps

DClinPsy, Department of Psychology, University of East London, UK

Correspondence Address:
Nargis Islam
Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, University of East London, Water Lane, London, E15 4LZ
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/INTV.INTV_22_19

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Since August 2017, approximately one million Rohingya people from Myanmar have fled from genocide, gender-based violence and torture in northern Rakhine state, Myanmar to Cox’s Bazar in neighbouring Bangladesh. International and local humanitarian agencies are now attempting to support the health and mental health needs of over 1.3 million people who are dependent on aid, including the host communities. This reflection paper considers diasporic and transnational belonging issues emerging from being an international consultant who is also Bangladeshi by origin, and the cross-learning processes that emerged through working with local services. Given the recognition that historically western narratives are privileged over non-western knowledge and experiences, key learning around this interface and the necessity of reflective and ethical practice competencies are outlined. Working with local services in humanitarian settings involved a congruence with a personal–professional value base, and a humility, openness, self-awareness and reflexivity. The importance of reflective and ethical practice competencies is discussed in the context of delivering effective and culturally congruent, meaningful and useful interventions. The paper outlines key learning and reflections from supporting work in the Rohingya camps in Bangladesh, and how this learning might apply to clinical practice in humanitarian and development settings.

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