Trauma-related mental health problems and effectiveness of a stress management group in national humanitarian workers in the Central African Republic

The aim of this study is to assess the levels of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in national aid workers in Central African Republic as well as to evaluate the effectiveness of a stress management group in reducing those symptoms. Twenty-seven stress management groups were evaluated in two international non-governmental organisations in which 197 national humanitarian aid workers took part. There was a significant decrease in the intensity of every psychopathological variable tested despite a decrease in the sample between the pre- and post-tests. At post-test, 8.1, 5.1 and 11.1% of the participants had scores indicating anxiety, depression and PTSD compared to 25, 18.9 and 26% at pre-test. The group intervention has demonstrated to be a realistic, effective and cost-effective way to respond to mental health problems in national aid workers living in a context of ongoing violence and where access to specialised services is extremely limited.

KEY IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE

  • Documenting the mental health of national humanitarian staff working in unsecure environment in Central African Republic
  • A one session stress management group protocol can reduce the levels of anxiety, depression and PTSD in this population and hence demonstrating that it is feasible and cost-effective for organizations to honour their duty of care towards national humanitarian workers
  • Further research is needed to confirm these preliminary results, especially in other cultural and humanitarian contexts.
Reference: 
Capucine de Fouchier & Marianne S. Kedia | 2018
In: Intervention: Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas, ISSN 1571-8883 | 16 | 2 | 103-109
http://doi.org/10.4103/INTV.INTV_9_18
Keywords: 
Anxiety Symptoms, Central Africans, Depressive Disorders, Group Psychotherapy, Humanitarian Staff Care, Interventions, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD (DSM-5), Support Groups