Tuesday, May 17, 2011
SPHERE 2011 proposes concrete guidance for Community based Psychosocial Support
The new SPHERE Project 2011 has included a new section entitled “Protection Principles” (SPHERE, 2011, pp. 24-44). The following community-based and other psychosocial support are recommended.
Positive communal coping mechanisms such as culturally appropriate burials, religious ceremonies and practices, and non-harmful cultural and social practices should be supported.
Activities for children: Where appropriate, communities should be encouraged to organize structured, supportive educational and protective activities for children through non-formal means such as child-friendly spaces. Community protection mechanisms should include self-help activities that promote psychosocial well-being.
Help organize appropriate psychosocial support for survivors of violence. Ensure that survivors have access to community social networks and self-help activities. Access to community-based social support should be complemented by access to mental healthcare.
Integrated support system: Those agencies working on psychosocial support and mental health in various sectors should collaborate to build an integrated system of support for the population (see Essential health services – mental health standard 1 on page 333).
Clinical support: Establish mechanisms for the referral of severely affected people for available clinical support.
Psychological first aid should be available to workers who have experienced or witnessed extremely distressing events (see Essential Health Services—Mental Health Standard 1, p. 335).(SPHERE 2011, p. 73 & 335). Acute anxiety after exposure to extreme stressors (e.g. traumatic events) is best managed following the principles of psychological first aid, which is often mistakenly seen as a clinical intervention. Rather, it is a description of a humane, supportive response to a fellow human being who is suffering and who may need support. It entails basic, non-intrusive pragmatic care with a focus on listening but not forcing talk, assessing needs and concerns, ensuring that basic needs are met, encouraging social support from significant others and protecting from further harm.