Snaga Žene: a model for healing trauma beyond psychological treatment

Abstract: The nongovernmental organisation Snaga Žene, which means ‘the power of woman’, provides psychological, social, medical, educational and legal assistance to refugee women who have returned to Srebrenica after the massacre in 2002, which claimed the lives of their husbands, sons and/or brothers.

An attitude of helplessness: basic counselling in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo

Abstract: The Democratic Republic of Congo has suffered armed conflict for over 20 years, with the eastern provinces being particularly impacted by destruction and structural violence. The consequences of this ongoing violence are visible on the streets and in the homes of the people, as well as specifically affecting the minds of the country's youth. This personal reflection highlights the work of a psychologist at a vocational training centre in Bukavu.

Transforming an out-of-date psychiatric hospital into a patient friendly space: a matter of taking risks

Abstract: The author describes his experience as a psychiatrist in a large psychiatric hospital near Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. While there, he attempted to transform the wards under his supervision into patient friendly spaces through empowering both patients and staff members. This personal reflection shows that sometimes it can be wise not to have a plan, but to make use of opportunities as they arise.

The other side of ‘economic migration’: psychosocial issues affecting young people returning to Ethiopia

Abstract: Families in Ethiopia, with few opportunities to generate income, sometimes send a young family member to work abroad. In many cases, the family sells property to raise the necessary funds, and therefore, expect that much of the income earned will be sent home. However, young migrants are often vulnerable to exploitation and abuse and may want to return home, or need to return after violence breaks out in their country of migration.

The story of a Somalian refugee woman in Ethiopia: how I became a peer counsellor

​Ibado Mahamoud Hilole, a Somalian woman, fled to Ethiopia after her son was killed in Mogadishu in 2010. Since then, she has lived in a refugee camp situated on the border where Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia meet. In this personal reflection, she describes how her life has been affected by the violence in her country, how she survived periods of despair, and yet was able to find the courage to become a peer counsellor for other refugees.

The refugee crisis in Greece: training border security, police, volunteers and aid workers in psychological first aid

​As the Syrian refugee crisis continues unabated, Greece remains one of the first ports of sanctuary. While the country is still gripped by one of the worst financial and societal crises of the past 40 years, little attention or funding was available to provide mental health and psychosocial support to migrants or refugees. In 2007, Nikolaos Gkionakis, along with other colleagues, founded the Babel Day Centre to provide mental health care and psychosocial support for migrants and refugees.

From victim to survivor: the girls of water and rice

This personal reflection is based on key lessons that have emerged as a result of a year of fieldwork with female (former) child soldiers in reintegration programmes in Colombia. In working with, and observing, a local non-profit organisation in Bogotá, Colombia, it became evident that assisting the girls in transitioning from a victim mentality to that of a survivor was critical to successful reintegration.

Highlighting the mental health needs of Syrian refugees

This personal reflection discusses the author's personal involvement supporting the mental health needs of Syrian refugees. The mental health needs of this population includes a wide range of psychological problems that require further evaluation to fully understand. The scale of the problem is huge, affecting large numbers, some of whom were subjected to prolonged torture and witnessed daily bombardments.