FIELD REPORTS

The dispossessed: diary of a psychiatrist at the Chad/Sudan border (2004)

While working for an international humanitarian organisation in the Sudanese refugee camps at the Chad border, British child psychiatrist Lynne Jones kept a personal diary. In this diary, she reflects on the practical challenges and moral dilemmas facing a mental health practitioner working in this difficult context.

Psychosocial support in the midst of the 2012 Mali crisis: a rapid overview of the current situation

After military officers deposed the president of Mali in March 2012, rebels seized control of the northern parts of the country, and declared independence. The resulting political instability and insecurity in northern Mali has led to mass displacement of the population to the southern parts of the country. Local and international agencies have agreed to work together to develop a coherent and pragmatic psychosocial response to the crisis.

Overcoming social/cultural practices and beliefs in setting up a community mental health programme in a complex emergency: reflections arising from the work done by TPO in Somalia

Since the collapse of the central government of Somalia in 1991, large parts of the country have been in turmoil. Fighting, poverty, hunger and gender based violence have all contributed to high levels of mental and psychosocial problems. Excessive consumption of khat may also be a major contributor to mental health problems, specifically in men. In Somalia, few services respond to the needs of people with mental health problems.

From mathematics to psychosocial work: personal reflections on a decade of psychosocial work with children in Kosovo

The author of this field report, originally a professor in mathematics, describes in a personal report how oppression and violent conflict in Kosovo effected a change in his career, and how he became the founder and director of a local nongovernmental organisation in the field of education and psychosocial support for children. After the conflict, many psychosocial activities were organised. Unfortunately, local experience was often ignored in these projects.

Evaluating the psychosocial components of a humanitarian project: describing the effect of an intervention in relation to psychosocial problems

One inescapable fact of most psychosocial interventions is the requirements of donor organisations, often in the form of project or programme evaluations. A group of psychosocial workers working with formerly displaced people, who are now relocated in resettlement areas, were asked by the donors to show that their approach is effective in removing psychosocial problems. In this field report, it is shown that, in this particular case the job of the psychosocial workers can indeed be described in terms of removing psychosocial problems.

Common Threads: a recovery programme for survivors of gender based violence

A multi-dimensional, intervention programme for survivors of gender based violence was piloted in Lago Agrio, Ecuador and a nearby Colombian refugee settlement. Local facilitators were trained to implement the programme with small groups of women. The model introduces art therapy techniques, psycho-education, peer support, symptom reduction techniques and psychosocial skill building, within the context of a women's hand sewing collective.

An innovative approach to integrating mental health systems: strengthening activities in Somaliland

Somaliland, in the Horn of Africa, declared independence from Somalia in 1991, but is yet to be internationally recognised as a sovereign state. The region has a significantly weak health sector, with poor service provision and scarce human resources for mental health, despite huge mental health need.

Psychosocial support for Bhutanese refugees in Nepal

For more than 20 years, thousands of Bhutanese refugees have been living in refugee camps in eastern Nepal, in an uncertain and challenging situation. Now, the possibility of resettlement is bringing even more challenges into their lives. In recognition of this situation, the nongovernmental organisation Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation Nepal provides psychosocial support to this group, in collaboration with United Nations High Commission for Refugees and other humanitarian agencies.

The development of a comprehensive mapping service for mental health and psychosocial support in Jordan

Jordan received a significant influx of Iraqi refugees as a result of war, ongoing conflict, political instability, and limited economic opportunities in Iraq. The multiple needs of Iraqi refugees are primarily met through international donors and non-profit organisations that implement comprehensive programmes, including the provision of mental health care and psychosocial support.

How to convey the new World Health Organization mental health Intervention Guide to workers in the field?

In order to increase access to mental health services in low and middle income countries, the World Health Organization has developed the mental health Gap Action Plan Intervention Guide (mhGAP-IG). This practical guide aims to assist non-specialised health workers in making clinical decisions for people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders. It is now a major challenge to get this guide implemented in all corners of the world.

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