Psychosocial Support

Every disaster affects the victims and survivors both physically and mentally. The mental suffering is not at all less painful than the other. Hence, the person exposed to disaster needs mental care and support to help him to cope up with changing state of affairs. World Health Organization says that the people in distress need humane, supportive and practical help to overcome their suffering. The WHO defines this support as Psychological First Aid, which not only covers psychological affairs but also the social. It includes providing practical support and care, assessing the needs and concerns, helping the people to meet their basic needs, connecting them to information, services and social support and protecting them from further harm. WHO further says that to provide all these support and care one need not be a certified professional counsellor or psychiatric and this is not psychological debriefing (World Health Organization). The history of Psychosocial Care is not so old. Psychosocial consequences were never taken seriously in relief and rehabilitation process. Long term study of psychosocial problems after the Bhopal Gas Tragedy helped to start the gradual acceptance of need of psychosocial care. For the first time, psychosocial care was implemented by community level workers during the super cyclone in Orissa. The intervention had demonstrated the nature of the needs of vulnerable groups, the possibility of community level workers to provide care and the effectiveness of such care. The experience in Orissa actually established a new approach to psychosocial care. Under the leadership of people like Harsh Mander and R Srinivasa Murthy, psychosocial care was made simplified and of wide use. In later stages, psychosocial care was extensively used in successive disaster situations like Gujarat Massacre.

Bahadur S. senior fellow at Rainbow Home designed a month long program for the camp and provided training to the members of the group. Aman Biradari provided the learning materials on psychosocial care and support which were developed by R Srinivasa Murthy in association with Action Aid. By first week of June, 2014, the group became ready to undertake the proposed work and set out for Khagrabari camp in Baksa.