Abstract

The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (IASC, 2007) promote the provision of basic needs and community/family supports as key approaches to improve the overall wellbeing of people affected by crises, including conflict. However, positive impacts and/or evidence base for these initiatives, seen through the lens of psychological theory and research, are limited. A World Vision AusAID livelihoods project in Gaza was qualitatively examined in order to explore this question of how psychosocial supports improve wellbeing for men, women and children. Results of the qualitative examination presented in this paper show that locally prescribed feelings of wellbeing improved through the reduction of daily stressors and supported the model of a mediating relationship between traumatic events and mental health, as suggested by Miller & Rasmussen (2010). The paper also demonstrates the benefits of a multidisciplinary and integrated psychosocial support approach for programmes delivered with a whole-of-family perspective, which has more broadly supported the psychosocial needs of this conflict affected community. The paper further reflects on the important need for effective measurement models in relation to ascertaining impacts of integrated psychosocial support approaches.

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