Programming to Address Suicidal Behaviour among Unaccompanied Refugee Minors in a Camp Setting: A Field Report from Ethiopia

In response to a perceived increase in suicidal ideation and behaviour among minors and especially unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) in camps for Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia, we developed a multilayered response programme. This programme included public awareness and stigma-reduction campaigns, psychoeducation aimed at both UASC and their caregivers, capacity building for humanitarian and community partners, group and individual counselling for UASC and crisis response and postvention.

 

We offer learnings from the development and implementation of this programme, highlighting the importance of working with relevant constructs such as grief, guilt, attachment and identity. It is our hope that our learnings will be informative and helpful to practitioners working with displaced UASC in other contexts. Recognising the heightened risk factors experienced by young people with trauma histories currently in camp settings, we recommend the coordinated development of a suicide prevention and response plan as a core component of any humanitarian response.

Reference: 
Medhanye Alem, Sandra Githaiga, Esayas Kiflom, Liyam Eloul | 2021
In: Intervention: Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas | 19 | 2 | september | 233-241
https://www.interventionjournal.org/article.asp?issn=1571-8883%3Byear%3D2021%3Bvolume%3D19%3Bissue%3D2%3Bspage%3D233%3Bepage%3D241%3Baulast%3DAlem
Keywords: 
Asylum Seekers, Children, Humanitarian Assistance, Interventions, Prevention, Psychoeducation, Refugees, Suicidality, Unaccompanied Minors