World Mental Health Day:People are distressed, having often lost loved ones: Experts

World Mental Health Day:People are distressed, having often lost loved ones: Experts

MSF, IMHANS hold workshop on Psychological First Aid

International medical humanitarian organization- Médecins Sans Frontiéres (MSF) in collaboration with Institute of Mental and Neuro Sciences (IMHANS) Kashmir here conducted a training workshop on Psychological First Aid (PFA) for nurses and paramedical staff to commemorate World Mental Health Day 2016. 

Malika Gupta Communications Manager MSF in a statement said in the wake of ongoing unrest in Kashmir and a potential increase in the need for psychological intervention, the workshop helped medical staff expand their knowledge and skills on quality delivery of PFA. 

The statement said IMHANS took a lead by formulating a crisis intervention team which has already done more than 350 PFA sessions.  

“People are understandably distressed, having often lost loved ones as well as a sense of security and safety. PFA involves normalizing a person’s response to a crisis situation as well as linking with services. This workshop uses an interactive approach to train the very people who will be delivering this immediate care to those affected by the recent unrest and most in need of psychological support.” said Frieda Andernach, Mental Health Officer, MSF India.

On the occasion, Principal Government Medical College, Professor Kaiser gave an opening address. 

“The workshop, through role plays, group discussions, exercises encouraged the participants to learn from each other’s’ experiences and knowledge sharing. Furthermore, MSF trainers also ensured that the basic PFA guidelines were adjusted according to the context and culture in Kashmir,” the organizers said. 

“Recently, a middle aged woman, one of our former patients from south Kashmir presented to one of our clinics with clear symptoms of depression.  She had a relapse because of the ongoing unrest. During her counselling sessions, she narrated how she is constantly worried about the future of her children given the current situation.” said one of the MSF counsellors.

“As a medical organization and mental health actor in Kashmir , we are, of course, concerned about the consequences of the already three month long and ongoing unrest. We hope this workshop will help increase the knowledge and skills of medical staff involved in the delivery of much needed Psychological First Aid.” Said Magali Roudaut, Country Director, MSF India.