FIELD REPORTS

The development of a training covering coping strategies for local social educators working in the violent slums of Rio de Janeiro

Residents, living in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, are almost daily confronted with drug related violence. Similarly, local social educators working with children and young adults in these slums, also frequently live amidst this extreme violence. However, while this gives them a thorough understanding of the needs of the people they work with, it may also sometimes interfere with their ability to assist others, and they may sometimes be in need of support themselves.

Basic versus focused psychosocial interventions for community wellbeing: lessons following the Nargis cyclone interventions in Burma/Myanmar

Psychosocial interventions in Burma/Myanmar are a new phenomenon. Following the Nargis cyclone in Burma/Myanmar, assessments highlighted a clear need to address the psychosocial issues in local communities. Within the existing socio-political constraints, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) tried to address these issues in different ways. National NGOs tried to help communities by organising community based psychosocial support programmes.

Psychosocial response to the Haiti earthquake: the experiences of International Organization for Migration

This article briefly describes the International Organization for Migration's (IOM) immediate psychosocial response to the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and aims to substantiate some of its underlying principles. The interconnectedness of activities at the national and inter-agency coordination, direct intervention and capacity building levels are illustrated, with particular regard to the specificities of the Haitian culture, and of the pace of the overall humanitarian intervention.

Care for the caretakers: rolling out a protocol or developing tailor-made programmes on the spot?

Some western nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) have developed protocols aimed at providing care for the caretakers. The authors, three psychosocial workers in an Asian country, show an approach that is more sensitive to the local context than any protocol could ever be. This is done by giving a detailed description of a two-day ‘stress management workshop’ that was offered to two groups of local staff members from an international NGO (INGO).

Psychological first aid pilot: Haiti emergency response

Psychological first aid (PFA) is an approach for providing basic psychological support to people in acute distress. It is now viewed as one of the primary early psychosocial interventions during, or immediately following, a crisis. World Vision International, War Trauma Foundation and World Health Organisation have developed a PFA guide for low and middle income countries (LAMIC) following acute emergencies.

Staff support in Haiti

The earthquake in January 2010 that destroyed Port au Prince, Haiti, has been described as the most devastating humanitarian disaster on record. The author, a mental health professional and a dance movement therapist with more than 12 years working experience in Haiti, encountered numerous anecdotal reports of physical illness and psychological distress amongst rescue and recovery workers, humanitarian aid workers, and others.

The Department of Health response to the Maguindanao massacre in the Philippines

In the aftermath of election related violence in an area of armed conflict in the Philippines, the Philippine Department of Health deployed a psychosocial team to the area to carry out psychosocial interventions. The main intervention was an activity called Psychosocial Processing (PSP) that is briefly described and discussed in this field report.

Perspectives on alcohol and substance abuse in refugee settings: lessons from the field

In refugee settings, alcohol and other psychoactive substances can potentiate many underlying problems and contribute to the erosion of social relations and community structure. Interventions to minimise harmful use of alcohol and other psychoactive substances can lead to positive changes, but must be customised to the specific needs of each setting. Rapid assessments with appropriate tools, understanding the situation, partnership with workers and refugees, as well as inclusive approaches are all essential.

‘The Gaza Diamond’: drawings and wishes of Palestinian teenagers

In this study, the body of drawings and written wishes chosen from a drawing contest for Palestinian schoolchildren, provided data revealing a world of hopes, wishes and desires of Palestinian teenagers. Irrespective of the measure of regional exposure to the violent conflict, the political situation figures prominently in their wishes. Peace and statehood are dominant themes.

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The IASC Guidelines and the International Disaster Psychology Program at the University of Denver

There is a growing recognition of the significant psychological and psychosocial damage caused by natural and manmade disasters. This phenomenon has increased the demand for trained professionals with the necessary skills to address these problems, in diverse populations around the world.

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