Psychosocial Support to Survivors of Earthquake

The seven plus magnitude of earthquakes in April and May 2015 in Nepal killed more than 8,800 people and 22,000 people were injured, some with long-term disabilities. The pain, suffering, psychological distress, physical and mental health problems experienced by all aged group cannot be expressed in the words. Around 90% of the affected population had fear of further major earthquake, sleeplessness, lack of attention and concentration, looking after their daily activities and going upstairs in the house, cooking food and eating inside the house. They were so traumatized that they were in get-set position to run out if there is an earthquake. Children had experienced high level of fear of next earthquake, increased worry of future and study, concentration problems, increased irritability and anger spells, symptoms of body ache, clinging behaviour, sleep disorders and refused to enter into the house.

The dire situation had urged CMC-Nepal to look for multiple donors and supporters to jointly work with the people affected by earthquake. CMC-Nepal with its credibility working in psychosocial and mental health services was able to join hands with Felm Finland, TEAR Australia Australia, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), United Nation Children’s Fund – Nepal (UNICEF), Geneva Global Fund USA, Himal Partner Norway,  Finnish Church Aid (FCA), Asian Health Institute (AHI) Japan and World Renew and implemented psychosocial response (support) projects in ten districts out of 14 affected districts from May – December 2015.The second phase of this project has been continued in Dolakha, Ramechhap & Okhaldhunga in financial support of SDC; Nuwakot in support of Tear Australia; and Gorkha in support of Himal Partner in year 2016.

This project in emergency intended to provide and facilitate psychosocial support in these districts in close collaboration and consultation with district based District Disaster Relief Committee (DDRC) and its clusters; Health and Protection Clusters.  The psychosocial support service are being provided by following the ISAC Guidelines and in the three following ways; (1) Group Counseling, including Psychological First Aid in the beginning (2) Individual counselling and (3) On site psychosocial support while visiting families in community.

Group and on-site psychosocial support are being carried out community based trained Community Psychosocial Workers (CPSWs) supported by psychosocial counsellors. District based Psychosocial Counsellors is responsible for managing and providing psychosocial support & counselling to the highly distressed earthquake affected people with support of psychosocial supervisor through field level supervision & distant coaching. Severely affected people are referred to specialist’s services for needful treatment & consultation with psychiatrists’ & psychologists’ services.

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