Intervention Journal

July 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 2

ARTICLES

FIELD REPORTS

The IASC Guidelines and the International Disaster Psychology Program at the University of Denver
Authors:
Barrett, Tom; Fox, Judith; Shriberg, Janet; Aden, Kate; Eich, Whitney; Wolfe, Abigail

SUMMARIES

Summaries in Arabic
Authors:
Editors
Résumés en Français
Authors:
Editors
Summaries in Pashto
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Editors
Summaries in Russian
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Editors
Summaries in Sinhala
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Editors
Resumenes en Español
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Editors
Summaries in Tamil
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Editors

From the editor: building on local resources through participatory approaches

Several of the articles in this issue share a common theme: how to work in a genuinely participative manner with local stakeholders and not for them. We, as professionals in mental health and psychosocial work, should not perceive the populations we work with as simply passive recipients of our interventions, but should base our interventions on what the local stakeholders see as priorities, and build on existing human resources and local experiences. These are the basic ‘commandments’ of programming in mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS). Yet, time and time again, difficulties arise putting these principles into practice.

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Authors:
Ventevogel, Peter

ARTICLES

Building meaningful participation in reintegration among war-affected young mothers in Liberia, Sierra Leone and northern Uganda

When young mothers, formerly associated with armed groups, return to communities, they are typically social isolated, stigmatised, and marginalised. This creates reintegration challenges for themselves, and their communities. Their children face child protection problems such as neglect, rejection and abuse. In this paper, the authors describe an innovative field practice – community based, participatory action research (PAR) – that meaningfully involved formerly associated young mothers, and other vulnerable young mothers, in their communities. The project took place in 20 field sites in three countries: Liberia, northern Uganda and Sierra Leone. It was implemented through an academic, nongovernmental organisation (NGO) partnership. The participants were 658 young mothers, both formerly associated with armed groups and other mothers seen to be vulnerable. Within the context of caring psychosocial support, these young mothers organised themselves into groups, defined their problems, and developed social actions to address and change their situations. Some project outcomes included: young mothers and their children experiencing improved social reintegration evidenced by greater family and community acceptance; more positive coping skills; and decreased participation in sex work for economic survival.

 

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Authors:
McKay, Susan; Veale, Angela; Worthen, Miranda; Wessells, Michael

Mental health training of primary health care workers: case reports from Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Jordan

Evidence suggests that providing support to primary health care with training, assistance and supervision by available mental health professionals is the best way to extend mental health care to the population. Three cases of mental health training programmes for primary health care workers were implemented in different countries, and are described in this article. The objective was to share the lessons learnt in different settings. Relevant primary and secondary data were used to present the cases. The mental health trainings generally improved the mental health knowledge of primary health care workers. More sustainable changes in their mental health care practices were achieved only as a result of several factors combined together: a) professionally designed and implemented mental health training; b) motivation by all key players to develop community mental health services; c) political will by the government followed by formulation of mental health policy promoting integration of mental health into primary care; d) good timing of the programme; and e) influx of funding and professional expertise. The findings of this article support the viewpoint of the World Health Organization that mental health training for primary health care workers is just one of the factors necessary for the successful integration of mental health care into primary health care.

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Authors:
Budosan, Boris

The transition of teenage girls and young women from ex-combatants to civilian life: a case study in Sri Lanka

This paper describes the lives of young, female former Tamil Tiger fighters, in Batticaloa, after the civil war in Sri Lanka. It shows how the kinship and solidarity found in female networks, in a matrilineal society, has helped them survive the conflict. In Batticaloa, female-headed households bear the main burden for caring for the traumatised, and sometimes injured, returning female, former soldiers. This is done in the absence of social welfare services or specific medical or psychosocial care. Disabled female ex-combatants find it especially difficult to build a future within the community. Although Sri Lanka's National Action Plan for the Re-Integration of Ex-Combatants does include disabled fighters, in reality, disabled female ex-combatants receive hardly any support.

The author concludes that money is spent on programmes that are not aimed at restoring trust between the Tamil population and the Sri Lankan state, but at reconciling ex-combatants with local communities. This is unnecessary, as communities already accept and help them, especially in the female-headed households. Households that have extra mouths to feed, because they provide care to returning female soldiers, should at least receive economic support.

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Authors:
Krishnan, Sonny Inbaraj

FIELD REPORTS

Field based training for mental health workers, community workers, psychosocial workers and counsellors: a participant-oriented approach

This article discusses the training of mental health workers whose basic job is with clients that have been seriously affected by armed conflict and/or natural disasters by using ‘helping through talking’, and who have had little education that is relevant to this work. It sums up the characteristics required of the workers, their learning needs, the messages that the training needs to convey, and the characteristics and potential contents of a tailor made, participants-oriented 1 In earlier publications (e.g. van der Veer, 2003; 2006) referring to the same approach the first author has used the term person-oriented or contact-focussed. programme. This approach is illustrated with a few key points from such a training programme.

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Authors:
van der Veer, Guus; Francis, Felician Thayalaraj

Field report: peer support supervision as a procedure for learning from practical experience in a mental health setting

This field report describes a ‘minimal budget project’ aimed at developing the expertise of a mixed group of workers. This project included nurses, community workers, counsellors and psychosocial workers attached to, or connected with, the mental health units in four hospitals in east Sri Lanka. In order to develop expertise, the project included a series of basic counselling training, as well as ongoing guidance during monthly peer supervision meetings. The peer supervision was done according to a strict procedure, and creates an ongoing opportunity for learning, both from the practical experience of oneself, and one's colleagues.

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Authors:
Francis, Felician Thayalaraj; van der Veer, Guus

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. The Masters of Arts International Disaster Psychology (MAIPD) programme in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology was developed in order to help to meet this increased demand for professionals, required to work in the field of disaster psychology and emergency management within the United States, and around the world. The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (2007) are extensively utilised in this programme. The guidelines provide practical approaches for addressing psychosocial problems in (post)disaster settings, and provide a framework for developing plans and intervention strategies. This article examines the use of the IASC guidelines in an academic setting, and discusses a case example of how the IASC guidelines were utilised by MAIDP students working in Panama. This critical evaluation aims to provide practical information in order to assist faculty, students and practitioners preparing to work in (post)disaster settings.

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Authors:
Barrett, Tom; Fox, Judith; Shriberg, Janet; Aden, Kate; Eich, Whitney; Wolfe, Abigail

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. After more than a decade of experience, the author stresses the pivotal role of teachers as the key agents in improving psychosocial support to children. Further, he emphasises the importance of strengthening local capacity, rather than international agencies implementing projects with expatriate staff.

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Authors:
Lekaj, Ramush

SUMMARIES

Summaries in Arabic

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Authors:
Editors

Résumés en Français

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Authors:
Editors

Summaries in Pashto

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Authors:
Editors

Summaries in Russian

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Authors:
Editors

Summaries in Sinhala

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Authors:
Editors

Resumenes en Español

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Authors:
Editors

Summaries in Tamil

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Authors:
Editors