How to support staff deploying on overseas humanitarian work : a qualitative analysis of responder views about the 2014/15 West African Ebola outbreak

Background: Responding to health crises overseas can be both rewarding and distressing for staff involved.
Objective: We interviewed UK staff involved in the 2014/15 Ebola response to identify experiences that positively or negatively affected them.
Method: We conducted qualitative telephone interviews with 30 Public Health England (PHE) staff and 21 non-governmental organisation (NGO) staff who had deployed to West Africa.

Trauma occurs in social contexts

Vilnius, Lithuania's capital, was the beautiful location of the 14th Conference of the European Society of Traumatic Stress studies (ESTSS) from June 10 to 13, 2015. The main theme of this two-yearly conference was “Trauma in changing societies: social contexts and clinical practice.” The topic of the conference is timely, unfortunately. The current crisis in Syria changed (and is still changing) societies, especially in the Middle East.

Borderlands of mental health : Explorations in medical anthropology, psychiatric epidemiology and health systems research in Afghanistan and Burundi

Many areas of the globe today face continuous armed conflict, with more and more populations caught in the crossfire. This has been true in both Afghanistan and Burundi where populations have to cope with the psychological and social effects of ongoing collective violence. While living and working in these countries, the author conducted research on the impact of these complex humanitarian emergencies on mental health and psychosocial wellbeing, and on ways to miti gate these impacts.
His findings as published in this PhD thesis are based on the following questions:

Special issue : Trauma occurs in social contexts

With this special issue that presents highlights of the biennial psychotrauma conference in Europe with contributions from experts inside and outside Europe, we hope to boost future research on the role of the broader social context in which trauma occurs.

A vulnerability paradox in the cross-national prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder

Determinants of cross-national differences in the prevalence of mental illness are poorly understood.
To test whether national post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) rates can be explained by (a) rates of exposure to trauma and (b) countries' overall cultural and socioeconomic vulnerability to adversity.

Neglected Trauma : Asylum seekers in Italy: an analysis of mental health distress and access to healthcare

The many humanitarian crises of recent years, the persistence of conditions of war and the systematic violation of human rights in many countries have forced millions of people to flee, undertaking journeys that are often very dangerous. According to data from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), there are now 65,3 million of people who left their home in the world. Recent evidence shows an increased risk of mental disorders among forced migrants and asylum seekers.

An outbreak of fear, rumours and stigma : psychosocial support for the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in West Africa

This field report summarises the experience and lessons learnt by the author, who was deployed as an International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies psychosocial delegate to Liberia for the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in July and August 2014. Psychosocial issues encountered in the field, including fear in local communities and among aid workers, the spreading of rumours, heath measures interfering with traditional rituals and stigmatisation are discussed in detail. Also included are suggestions for dealing with these issues and actions taken during the mission.

Beyond the crisis: building back better mental health care in 10 emergency-affected areas using a longer-term perspective

Major gaps remain – especially in low- and middle-income countries – in the realization of comprehensive, community-based mental health care. One potentially important yet overlooked opportunity for accelerating mental health reform lies within emergency situations, such as armed conflicts or natural disasters. Despite their adverse impacts on affected populations’ mental health and well being, emergencies also draw attention and resources to these issues and provide openings for mental health service development.
Case description

Improving mental health care in humanitarian emergencies

The mental health needs of people affected by emergencies are significant, but often overlooked by health-care providers. The world is facing an unprecedented number of humanitarian emergencies arising from conflict and disasters. In 2014, nearly 60 million people were forcibly displaced due to conflict, the highest number on record. Climatic and geological hazards continue to take their toll, as seen recently following the devastating earthquake in Nepal, cyclone in Vanuatu and flooding in China, Malawi and Myanmar.

Mental health and psychosocial support in humanitarian settings: a public mental health perspective.

Aims. To discuss the potential usefulness of a public health approach for ‘mental health and psychosocial support’ (MHPSS) interventions in humanitarian settings.