Intervention

EDITORIAL
Year
: 2020  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 97--98

Systems Under Strain


Wendy Ager 
 Editor in Chief, Intervention, The Netherlands

Correspondence Address:
Wendy Ager
Editor in Chief, Intervention, Nienoord 5-13, 1112XE Diemen
The Netherlands




How to cite this article:
Ager W. Systems Under Strain.Intervention 2020;18:97-98


How to cite this URL:
Ager W. Systems Under Strain. Intervention [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 25 ];18:97-98
Available from: https://www.interventionjournal.org/text.asp?2020/18/2/97/301838


Full Text



Welcome to the second issue of Intervention in 2020 with its new look in terms of design and colour scheme. We hope you find the content as valuable as ever.

I just looked at the last editorial I wrote back in March this year and it is clear that the core message about the challenges that COVID-19 presents to us all remains painfully relevant. There is indeed increasing evidence that COVID-19 and the measures to counter it exacerbate pre-existing fragilities and vulnerabilities and place systems under severe strain. This raises acute concerns for the mental health and wellbeing of the many people impacted by conflict across the globe.

This issue of Intervention features some articles about COVID-19, reflecting some of the work going on in providing mental and psychosocial support in the face of the pandemic. I hope you will find encouragement in reading about creative responses to demanding times and if you are a contributor to this month’s issue, I hope you will experience a sense of community and pride in sharing what you have done with the readership of Intervention. These articles include the stimulating article from Pakistan by Humayun et al (see pp. 150-158), which outlines the first reported MHPSS initiative in its COVID-19 response by the Government of Pakistan. A team of authors from the Mental Health Innovation Network, Hamilton et al (see pp. 159-165), report on lessons learnt from the stories of healthcare workers collected during the pandemic in a thoughtful initiative earlier this year called “Stories from the field” undertaken in collaboration with the World Health Organization Department of Mental Health and Substance Use. Much can be learned from innovative and resourceful responses of healthcare workers to service disruption caused by the pandemic. We are glad that Intervention can contribute to the wider dissemination of the knowledge shared through these stories to support practitioners around the world and avoid re-inventing the wheel. Dr. Boris Bodusan has written an insightful commentary (see pp. 176-181) on the impact of the coronavirus on the humanitarian response. He documents stressors faced by humanitarian workers themselves based on his work as an independent consultant with an international NGO. We have also received a letter to the editor from Shrivastava and Shrivastava (see pp. 182-183) raising the issue of the international response to the pandemic in Libya.We would welcome responses to this letter from our readers.

Our issue also features some important articles highlighting research in relation to children, adults or family members affected by violence, displacement and conflict. These include the valuable piece by Hammad and Tribe (see pp. 108-118) on the impact of an economic empowerment programme on participants in the Gaza Strip, occupied Palestinian territories. Their analysis found that those participating conceptualised empowerment as being able to work and having a livelihood, and that income generation led to empowerment. Dr. Masahiro Minami reports on an “action-based psychosocial reconciliation approach”, which seeks to facilitate reconciliation between survivors and perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda (see pp. 129-138). He provides an overview of the approach and reports on the findings of the pilot study, which includes narratives from some of the survivor-perpetrator dyads who took part. Miller et al. report on an evaluation of I Deal, a life skills intervention aimed at fostering resilience among young Syrian refugees living in Lebanon, using a parallel group randomised controlled trial (see pp. 119-128). This is a very helpful article, which not only documents the findings of the evaluation but also discusses the factors in the research methodology that could help to provide definitive evidence of effectiveness. Smid et al. (see pp. 139-149) in their article about the care of relatives of enforced disappeared persons in Mexico highlight the extreme emotional distress of all the family members they interviewed. Their findings emphasise the need to provide practical and informational support to relatives of disappeared persons as well as to provide emotional support during the entire search process for their missing relative, and beyond. Moving to the Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Bangladesh, Christensen, Ahsan and Mandal (see pp. 99-107) report on the results of a field trial of a digital screening tool, gathering data on the mental health status of Rohingya refugees, together with findings from an ethnographic study indicating the stressors of camp life which undermine psychosocial wellbeing.

I am pleased to bring your attention to two personal reflections in our issue this time, one by Nhial Wicleek and the other by Gialama and McGilloway. Nhial Wicleek writes a deeply personal account of his journey as a child in a refugee camp in Ethiopia to being a psychotherapist as an adult and able to provide assistance himself back in Ethiopia (see pp. 172-175). Gialama and McGilloway provide a reflection on their work in Lesbos, Greece, drawing on subsequent insights about mental health and psychosocial support and adding commentary on the recent fire in Moria Camp which destroyed the camp there (see pp. 166-171).

I will end with my note from last time. It still seems relevant: Whatever is happening where you are, I hope we are all able to find ways of acting in solidarity with one another. We all continue to need support, compassion and kindness at this time.