Goto main content

HI provides 500 people with psychological "first aid"

Emergency
Lebanon

The explosion in Beirut on 4 August traumatised an entire population. Over the last fortnight, Humanity & Inclusion (HI)’s teams have provided emergency psychological assistance to some 500 people.

Chafik Mia, 36, suffered a serious leg injury when the roof of his kitchen collapsed following an explosion in the port of Beirut on 4 August.

Chafik Mia, 36, suffered a serious leg injury when the roof of his kitchen collapsed following an explosion in the port of Beirut on 4 August. | ©Tom Nicholson / HI

Some 20 volunteers have been going door-to-door in the neighbourhoods of Beirut worst affected by the explosion, such as Quarantine and Basta, identifying people’s needs and providing them with psychological “first aid".

Reaching out to victims

HI’s psychosocial support teams are working in the city’s worst affected neighbourhoods where they reach out to people hit by the explosion. They assess their needs, paying special attention to their mental health.

Assistance

Each time they visit someone’s home, the HI team introduces itself, explains what the organisation does and the purpose of the interview, which is to record the damage caused by the explosion, and the individual situation of each person in the household, and to provide information on the social, medical, and humanitarian services available nearby.

Immediate psychological support

HI encourages people to talk about their personal situation. The teams take time to listen to victims, allowing them to share their feelings and “get things off their chest". Psychological "first aid" thus involves listening to people, acknowledging their experiences, and adopting a kind and attentive attitude to their distress.

The psychologist or psychosocial worker adopts a neutral attitude, never interrupts someone, and establishes a relationship of trust.

They may make occasional comments such as "I understand" or “that’s true" .

They also normalize situations or reactions: if a person explains that he or she feels too anxious to leave home, the psychologist will reply that this is normal, and many people react the same way. This can help relieve stress.

A sympathetic ear as the start of therapy

A sympathetic ear can begin to relieve the stress and anxiety a person may be feeling.

In the most serious cases, HI provides information on immediately available mental health services.

The HI team always calls the person back two or three days after the interview to check on them and make sure they have been able to access the support they suggested.

People in shock

Many people in Beirut are suffering from shock. One man who was fishing at the time of the explosion no longer feels able to go to sea, causing a significant loss of income to him and his family. He feels oppressed and cannot sleep.

The simple act of asking one woman what she needed brought tears to her eyes...

HI provides each individual suffering from extreme shock with assistance and a solution to their problems.  

 

Where your
support
helps

PRESS CONTACT

CANADA

Gabriel PERRIAU

USA

Mica BEVINGTON

 

Help them
concretely

To go further

Haiti : One month after the quake
© R.CREWS/ HI
Emergency

Haiti : One month after the quake

One month after an earthquake wreaked havoc in southwest Haiti, humanitarian needs remain immense. The disaster caused over 2,000 deaths and put 650,000 people in need of vital support.

HI continues activities in Afghanistan
© HI
Emergency Explosive weapons Rehabilitation

HI continues activities in Afghanistan

Humanity & Inclusion (HI) is steadily resuming its activities in four provinces - Herat, Kunduz, Kandahar and Nimroz. After more than 30 years of war, humanitarian needs in Afghanistan are immense.

Haiti: HI expands emergency needs evaluation
© R.CREWS / HI
Emergency

Haiti: HI expands emergency needs evaluation

Members of the Humanity & Inclusion (HI) emergency team head north from the Cayes to assess needs of Grande’Anse following the earthquake