Posts tagged therapy

Our psychosocial department has developed a play therapy program for the hospitalized kids. Two of our counsellors go in each weekday morning for two hours. We offer health education about TB, give them rules of behavior and cooperation, and the children can choose from different activities that stimulate development, like puzzles, Lego, drawing and coloring, and socially interactive games. What always strikes me is their eagerness to learn and the way they just soak up all the stimulation they’re being offered and even ask for more.
Terry is a psychosocial support officer working with MSF in Tajikistan. Please leave your questions and comments for Terry in the box below her blog post.
Photo: Children draw as part of MSF’s mental health activities in Doro Camp. South Sudan 2012 © Christina Jo Larsen/MSF
Tending to “Invisible Wounds” Among Sudanese Refugees in South Sudan
Refugees escaping from violence are put through a tremendous amount of stress. Not only are there physical stressors to overcome, but there are mental and emotional stressors that are sometimes hidden behind a resilient spirit. This stress brings with it additional challenges for individuals and families already stretched to their limits. Among the Sudanese refugees who fled conflict and bombardments in their villages and are now seeking sanctuary inSouth Sudan, MSF teams are seeing a great deal of depression, anxiety, fear, and physical ailments with no clear origins. In Upper Nile State’s Maban County, where upwards of 100,000 refugees from Sudan’s Blue Nile State are living in a network of camps, MSF therefore augments its medical activities with psychosocial care.
The stress manifests in many different ways, and part of MSF’s aim is to help people find ways to express it. One day not long ago, a girl around 14 years old wearing a threadbare nightgown sat quietly among a group of smiling and shouting children, staring down at a piece of paper. She had been asked to draw the thing that she fears most, and despite the noise around her, she was focused entirely on the exercise.
MSF psychologist Julia Stempel leaned over to see what the girl was drawing. A picture of a large airplane covered most of the paper.
“The children are asked to draw what frightens them the most, and almost everyone draws an airplane,” Stempel said. “They say it’s the airplanes that forced them to flee.”

Photo: Children draw as part of MSF’s mental health activities in Doro Camp. South Sudan 2012 © Christina Jo Larsen/MSF

Tending to “Invisible Wounds” Among Sudanese Refugees in South Sudan

Refugees escaping from violence are put through a tremendous amount of stress. Not only are there physical stressors to overcome, but there are mental and emotional stressors that are sometimes hidden behind a resilient spirit. This stress brings with it additional challenges for individuals and families already stretched to their limits. Among the Sudanese refugees who fled conflict and bombardments in their villages and are now seeking sanctuary inSouth Sudan, MSF teams are seeing a great deal of depression, anxiety, fear, and physical ailments with no clear origins. In Upper Nile State’s Maban County, where upwards of 100,000 refugees from Sudan’s Blue Nile State are living in a network of camps, MSF therefore augments its medical activities with psychosocial care.

The stress manifests in many different ways, and part of MSF’s aim is to help people find ways to express it. One day not long ago, a girl around 14 years old wearing a threadbare nightgown sat quietly among a group of smiling and shouting children, staring down at a piece of paper. She had been asked to draw the thing that she fears most, and despite the noise around her, she was focused entirely on the exercise.

MSF psychologist Julia Stempel leaned over to see what the girl was drawing. A picture of a large airplane covered most of the paper.

“The children are asked to draw what frightens them the most, and almost everyone draws an airplane,” Stempel said. “They say it’s the airplanes that forced them to flee.”

Introducing a New Concept: Mental Health Support in Northwestern Pakistan


“I still remember there was a big bomb blast in April 2010, about 300 meters [about 984 feet] away from our hospital. Within a few minutes, dozens of injured patients were already outside the emergency room. We needed to quickly identify who needed to be attended first,” recalls Dr. Muhammad Zaher, who is working with Doctors Without Borders as assistant medical focal person in Timergara, in the Lower Dir district of northwestern Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province.
Mental health services are scarce in Pakistan, and Lower Dir is no exception. There are very few psychologists for the district’s estimated population of 1.2 million people. Indeed, the MSF team in Lower Dir knows of only one.

In response to this situation, MSF started providing mental health counseling and psychosocial support in the hospital in February 2012.

The mental health team is made up of both male and female staff. They provide individual and group counseling to patients referred from the mother-and-child health department, the emergency department, and the post-operative wards.
Photo: An MSF staff member and a young patient in the triage area of the DHQ hospital in Timergara
Pakistan 2012 © P.K. Lee/MSF

Introducing a New Concept: Mental Health Support in Northwestern Pakistan

“I still remember there was a big bomb blast in April 2010, about 300 meters [about 984 feet] away from our hospital. Within a few minutes, dozens of injured patients were already outside the emergency room. We needed to quickly identify who needed to be attended first,” recalls Dr. Muhammad Zaher, who is working with Doctors Without Borders as assistant medical focal person in Timergara, in the Lower Dir district of northwestern Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province.

Mental health services are scarce in Pakistan, and Lower Dir is no exception. There are very few psychologists for the district’s estimated population of 1.2 million people. Indeed, the MSF team in Lower Dir knows of only one.

In response to this situation, MSF started providing mental health counseling and psychosocial support in the hospital in February 2012.

The mental health team is made up of both male and female staff. They provide individual and group counseling to patients referred from the mother-and-child health department, the emergency department, and the post-operative wards.

Photo: An MSF staff member and a young patient in the triage area of the DHQ hospital in Timergara
Pakistan 2012 © P.K. Lee/MSF

Focusing on People, Not Politics: Providing Trauma Care in the Palestinian Territories
MSF runs mental health programs in the West Bank aimed to alleviate the impact of trauma, stress, and pervasive and often targeted violence, offering psychological and social support as well as medical care to the victims of violence caused by Israeli forces and settlers and intra-Palestinian disputes.Photo: An MSF staff member runs a counseling session in Hebron.
Occupied Palestinian Territories © Juan-Carlos Tomasi

Focusing on People, Not Politics: Providing Trauma Care in the Palestinian Territories

MSF runs mental health programs in the West Bank aimed to alleviate the impact of trauma, stress, and pervasive and often targeted violence, offering psychological and social support as well as medical care to the victims of violence caused by Israeli forces and settlers and intra-Palestinian disputes.

Photo: An MSF staff member runs a counseling session in Hebron.
Occupied Palestinian Territories © Juan-Carlos Tomasi