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Red Cross: Psychosocial assistance in conflict or disaster- St Maarten

People living in conflict areas are three times more likely to suffer from psychological complaints such as depression, anxiety or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). The same applies to people exposed to other humanitarian crises such as natural disasters, the Red Cross states based on experience. Yet less than a quarter of people receive the psychosocial help they need.

The Red Cross wants that to change. Marieke van Schaik, director of the Dutch Red Cross: “I have just returned from St Maarten, where I spoke to people who were victims of Hurricane Irma: a traumatic experience. Every time it storms on the island, they are terrified again. If we offer psychosocial help to people on time, we can prevent them from still struggling with this two years after that. ”

Serious mental problems
If people do not receive timely help, they are more likely to have serious psychological problems in the long term. In extreme cases this can lead to suicide. Every 40 seconds someone dies from suicide: 800,000 people a year. Almost 80 percent of these people live in low-income countries, where most disasters and conflicts occur. In these countries there are on average no two psychosocial care providers per 100,000 inhabitants. “Medical care, food, shelter and water are indispensable during a crisis. Every year aid organizations support millions of people with reconstruction and medical care, but mental wellbeing is of course also important. Far too little attention is paid to the psychosocial consequences of humanitarian crises. 80 percent of the people who need mental help do not receive it.

Game about psychological first aid
The Dutch Red Cross, together with the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) and the organization ‘Light for the World’, has developed a board game about psychological first aid. By playing it, social workers playfully learn the basic skills of psychosocial support (‘looking, listening and referring’) and applying them in helping people affected by a natural disaster, conflict or other crisis. This game will be presented tomorrow during the two-day conference in Amsterdam on mental health care and psychosocial support in emergency humanitarian aid in crisis situations. Elhadj As Sy, director of the International Red Cross (IFRC), gives a speech here about the importance of psychosocial assistance in conflict or disaster. Queen Máxima too,

https://beveiligingnieuws.nl/nieuws/rode-kruis-psychosociale-hulp-bij-conflict-of-ramp-onderbelicht

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