Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jamia organizes a workshop on “Providing Crisis Mental Health in Disasters”

New Delhi, India

The University Counseling & Guidance Centre of Jamia Millia Islamia in collaboration with Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists (IACP), North Zone had organized a workshop on “Providing Crisis Mental Health in Disasters” on June 25, 2010 from 10 AM to 2 PM in the Committee Room of Nehru Guest House, Jamia Millia Islamia.

The aim of the workshop was to prepare psychologists, counselors, and other certified/licensed mental health practitioners to respond to the emotional and psychological needs of people affected by disasters. 40 delegates actively participated in the workshop, conducted by Dr. R. Kevin Rowell on behalf of the University of Central Arkansas, American Psychological Association and Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists.

In the initial part of the workshop, Dr. Rowell focused on the prevalence of disasters and common reactions to it. He provided rationale behind different reactions by different individuals to same crisis situations. It was explained on the basis of diathesis-stress model. According to him, much of the reaction is decided by a person’s innate personality and his/her coping skills.

He elaborated the concept of psychological first aid and its effectiveness in reducing the negative psychological impact of disasters. The differences between the reactions of children and adults were also discussed. He also took up the principles of intervention with children.

Further, he discussed long term recovery interventions. Under this, he focused on trauma and post-traumatic growth. Towards the end of the workshop, he focused on the need of self-care for professional who work in crisis situations as disaster has an impact on them too.

Mr. Dherandra Kumar, Clinical & Child Psychologist and IACP Executive Council Member, North Zone also highlighted the lack of human resource in India capable of providing psychological first aid and long-term intervention in crisis/disaster situations. He stated that this in turn has effect on individuals and society’s well being. He further highlighted the need to have a network of professionals that can provide support in case of disasters and added that in future there is also a plan to have similar, but more comprehensive workshops throughout the country to develop human resources to strengthen the need of mental health care in disasters.
The University Counseling and Guidance Centre has been quite active in conducting various program for resource development and this one was a step in the same direction.