The field of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) in emergencies has been slow to engage with the growing global policy consensus around disaster risk reduction (DRR) as embodied by the Hyogo Framework for Action and its successor, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. However, there are encouraging recent efforts to harness the synergies that exist between the fields of DRR and MHPSS. As these linkages between the fields of MHPSS and DRR are still in an early stage of development, our attempt to outline a preliminary basis for how the objectives of the two fields may be combined in practice, and conceptually, might help move this process forward. It is in the interest of the MHPSS field to invest further in ways and means of integrating with the fast growing, dynamic and increasingly influential field of DRR. In turn, the field of MHPSS has much to offer by way of perspectives and approaches that can amplify the impact of DRR activities on the quality of life of people who are at risk of experiencing hazards or disasters. We believe this paper will demonstrate this and encourage others in the MHPSS field to seek greater dialogue and integration between the two fields.
In the Central African Republic, a political crisis started in 2013 that greatly affected the population. They were exposed to traumatogenic factors causing the emergence of symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder in large segments of the population. The situation of high food insecurity, combined with high levels of psychological distress, have significantly limited the population's coping strategies. Within this context, the nongovernmental organisation, Action Contre la Faim, implemented a programme aimed at addressing both immediate and underlying causes of malnutrition, integrating psychosocial and food security approaches. In order to improve the access to food, 900 pregnant and lactating women received monthly food coupons that were exchangeable in the local market. Of these, 199 women who had been identified as the most psychologically vulnerable benefited from specific support: individual counselling or therapeutic groups. Through this multi-sectoral approach, the women’s average individual dietary diversity score increased and households improved their food consumption score. Further, these women improved their psychological wellbeing and were able to regain some degree of hope and to develop coping skills. They regained confidence and felt stronger and more prepared to face the future, showing that this multi-sectoral approach strengthened family resilience.
This article describes the approach, implementation and evaluation of a pilot mental health and psychosocial support case management programme that was developed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Syria. The aim was to provide a description of the programme approach, its implementation and outputs. The programme integrates different forms of case management approaches based on a multi-layered, stepped care model. Earlier results of mixed method monitoring and evaluation revealed improvement in wellbeing among programme participants. The step-wise approach indicates, in addition to the positive mental health outcome results, a functional case management system.
According to humanitarian minimal standards, humanitarian programmes should maximise participation of affected populations within their response. Participation has been a key point in proposals, evaluators are aware of it and every aid worker has heard of it. In theory, it is a perfectly implemented, well understood and a well respected construct. In the field of mental health and psychosocial support, participation is core principle number two. Based on personal observations, this paper will delve deeper into the concept of participation within mental health and psychosocial support and the importance of its implementation. Further, and perhaps more importantly, it will reflect on the fact that even though this concept is so imbedded into concepts of humanitarian aid, there is a huge implementation gap. As a result, this paper also calls for action to fill this implementation gap and improve humanitarian aid through the principle of participation.
The signing of the truce on 23 June 2016 and the finalisation of peace negotiations on 24 August 2016 marked the end of more than 50 years of continuous armed conflict in Colombia, South America and the transition to ‘post conflict’ status. According to annual reports from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre based in Geneva, Switzerland, Colombia has ranked first or second in numbers of internally displaced persons every year for the past 12 years, making forced migration a defining characteristic of the country. This is based on the personal reflections of a mother and daughter (ER and AdPGR) who were displaced from rural Colombia and resettled in the nation’s urban capital of Bogoá. They survived the rigors and hardships of displacement and became capable counsellors on a global mental health project, bringing evidence based interventions to a highly traumatised population of internally displaced women in Bogotá. Their account speaks to the lived experiences of more than six million Colombian internally displaced ‘victims of the armed conflict’. Particularly notable is the description of myriad trauma exposures prior to the moment of displacement. This field report demonstrates how personal accounts are a useful tool for educating clinicians working with these populations.
© Intervention Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
Online since 1st February 2018