The Pan American Health Organization and the Caribbean Development Bank developed this booklet as a tool to help you take care of yourself and your community during crisis situations. This is achieved through psychological first aid, also known as PFA, a humane, supportive and practical response to a fellow human being who is suffering and may need support. In this booklet, our “PFA helper” will guide you through the three basic principles of PFA: look, listen and link. This will help you to approach affected people, listen and understand their needs, and link them with practical support and information. It will also bring to your attention the needs of specific groups, including men, women, children and adolescents, and people with disabilities, among others. Enjoy the booklet. Read it again from time to time, share it with friends, family and members of your community, and spread the message: “Stronger together”
Traumatic experiences arising from flight from war zones can lead to distressing symptoms, which impair everyday life. The symptoms often subside with time but sometimes persist. People exhibiting symptoms resulting from trauma should seek medical help.
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Health Evidence Network Synthesis Report, No. 47
The increasing number of refugees, asylum seekers and irregular migrants poses a challenge for mental health services in Europe. This review found that these groups are exposed to risk factors for mental disorders before, during and after migration. The prevalence rates of psychotic, mood and substance use disorders in these groups are variable but overall are similar to those in the host populations; however, the rates of post-traumatic stress disorder in refugees and asylum seekers are higher. Poor socioeconomic conditions are associated with increased rates of depression five years after resettlement. These groups encounter barriers to accessing mental health care. Good practice for mental health care includes promoting social integration, developing outreach services, coordinating health care, providing information on entitlements and available services, and training professionals to work with these groups. These actions require resources and organizational flexibility
The CB MHPSS operational guidelines were developed in response to emerging evidence on the determinants of children’s resilience, lessons learned from the evaluation of existing approaches, and the unique challenges that today’s crises pose for children’s safety, wellbeing and optimal development.
The Call to Action on Protection from GBV in Emergencies, formally launched in 2013 by the United Kingdom and Sweden, aims to fundamentally transform the way GBV is addressed in humanitarian operations via the collective action of numerous partners, each bringing our various strengths and capacities to the table. Our goal is to drive change and foster accountability within the humanitarian sphere. The commitment to act and to hold ourselves accountable for action is what binds us together under the Call to Action.
UNHCR is committed to strengthening programming to prevent, mitigate and respond to sexual and genderbased violence (SGBV) in all operations. In 2018, through funding from Safe from the Start, UNHCR launched a mainstreaming project with the specific objective of supporting UNHCR’s institutionalisation of SGBV prevention, risk mitigation and response. For UNHCR, SGBV mainstreaming refers to the integration of prevention, mitigation, and response strategies across all areas of programming. This proactive and ongoing process of mainstreaming is a shared responsibility whereby all colleagues across all sectors and functional levels must consider SGBV risks and take measures to reduce exposure to identified risks throughout all stages of the operations management cycle. By mainstreaming SGBV prevention, risk mitigation, and response throughout the organisation, each sector increases its own capacity to improve protection outcomes and attain sector-specific standards.
Guidelines for Prevention and Reponse
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)’s Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD) Policy (2011) guides the agency’s work with women, men, girls and boys affected by forced displacement and statelessness. The policy highlights the importance of age, gender and diversity, which it defines broadly to include, for example, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability and membership in a minority or indigenous group. Recognizing that these traits play a critical role in determining a person’s opportunities, capacities, needs and risks, UNHCR holds its staff responsible for integrating AGD considerations into all their work. This annual report provides a summary of the steps UNHCR has taken to implement the AGD policy by identifying and analysing key trends, challenges and field practices as well as projects and initiatives. The report concludes with a set of recommendations on how to strengthen UNHCR’s implementation of the AGD policy, particularly in areas where gaps were identified.
Refugee 1 men and boys can be subjected to sexual and gender‑based violence (SGBV). Survivors have specific health, psychosocial, legal, and safety needs, but often find it hard to discuss their experience and access the support they need. It is important that UNHCR and its partners take steps to address these difficulties. The objectives of this note are to emphasise that programmes on sexual and gender‑based violence need to include men and boys, and to provide guidance on how to access survivors, facilitate reporting, provide protection and deliver essential medical, legal and social services. 2
Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) threatens displaced women and girls, as well as men and boys, in all regions of the world. Creating safe environments and mitigating the risk of SGBV can only be achieved by addressing gender inequality and discrimination. While the scourge of SGBV is receiving much more attention internationally – as illustrated by Security Council Resolutions 1820, 1888 and 1960 – preventing SGBV is a complex challenge. To assist operations in addressing this core protection concern, UNHCR is presenting the Action against Sexual- and Gender-Based Violence: An Updated Strategy. This strategy provides a structure to assist UNHCR operations in dealing with SGBV on the basis of a multi-sectoral and interagency approach. UNHCR policies and programmes have for many years helped operations to address SGBV in coordination with other actors. 80% of operations in urban settings and 93% in camp settings work with SGBV Standard Operating Procedures which strengthen cooperation between partners. Moreover, support to community-based organisations has given communities a greater sense of ownership in addressing SGBV.