Evaluating the psychosocial components of a humanitarian project

The author describes the evaluation of the activities of a group of psychosocial workers in Internally Displace Person camps and resettlement areas. These psychosocial activities were offered as an addition to a programme aimed at improving the living conditions of the target group by building shelters and livelihood programmes.

Mapping of mental health and psychosocial support in post conflict Libya

The violent conflict that erupted in Libya and toppled the Gaddafi regime in 2011 has significantly impacted social services and the health infrastructure in the country. The influx of international humanitarian organisations has led to many initiatives to strengthen mental health care and psychosocial support services for the Libyan population.

Developing a responsive model of staff care beyond individual stress management: a case study

This field report offers some examples of donor related, and management induced, stress among local humanitarian staff in northern Sri Lanka. These examples were identified during staff care interventions held with a dozen nongovernmental organisations in the region. In this report, the authors discuss approaches to staff care. They conclude that individual, stress management focussed training does not adequately answer the needs of staff members (partially) burdened by unnecessary, work related stress.

'Against all odds': UNHCR's mental health and and psychosocial support programma for Iraqi refugees and internally displaced Syrians

Intensified fighting and insecurity in Damascus has limited the ability of the Iraqi refugees, displaced Syrians, partners and staff to physically access many of the fixed facilities offering mental health and psychosocial services. Those that do, have to travel substantial distances through checkpoints and ‘hot areas’.

Building resilience and preventing burnout among aid workers in Palestine: a personal account of mindfulness based staff care

The field report is a personal account of introducing the practice of mindfulness to humanitarian professionals working in East Jerusalem and the West Bank to help them reduce stress and address issues of burnout. Mindfulness refers to the systematic cultivation of awareness that emerges through paying attention to the present moment, with compassion and open hearted curiosity.

Art therapy for mental health workers in areas affected by violence: a rarely explored resource

Experiences with survivors of extreme violence demonstrate that treatments that focus exclusively on verbal expression are often insufficient. Furthermore, evidence has shown that art therapy, as an initially non-verbal therapy, has an important role to play in the treatment of people from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. However, most of the evidence gathered to date is through work with refugees in the West.

Lay counselling in humanitarian organisations: a field report on developing training materials for lay counsellors

Lay counsellors provide valuable psychosocial support in many different circumstances, such as manning telephone helplines for cancer patients, assisting people after crisis events or giving focused support to refugees or other vulnerable groups. This paper describes the process that a consortium of four humanitarian organisations followed to develop a training guide for lay counsellors as it was found that no common training curriculum existed.

Do humanitarian crises offer opportunities for change? A critical review of the mental health and psychosocial support post emergency in the Republic of the Congo

Violent explosions rocked the city of Brazzaville (the capital of the Republic of the Congo) on 4 March 2012, officially causing more than 280 deaths and leaving approximately 15,000 people displaced. Two months after this event, despite a large number of people suffering from considerable psychological distress, few people had called for, or had received, appropriate mental health care or any external psychosocial support.

Syrian mental health professionals as refugees in Jordan: establishing mental health services for fellow refugees

While the conflict in Syria rages on, one psychiatrist and several psychologists, all of them Syrian refugees, have founded ‘Syria Bright Future’, a volunteer organisation that provides psychosocial and mental health services to Syrian refugees in Jordan. This field report describes how the organisation assists families in settling after their harsh journey, in adapting to new living conditions and circumstances, coping with difficulties they encounter and strengthening their resilience.

Integrating psychosocial support into nutrition programmes in West Africa during the Sahel food crisis

For optimal physical and cognitive development to occur, a child requires adequate nutrition, but this should occur in addition to physical and emotional stimulation from a caregiver. Programmes, in which interventions for nutrition, maternal mental health and psychosocial stimulation are integrated, provide much wider benefits to a child's psychical and cognitive development than stand alone nutritional responses.