Traumas after experiencing Violence and Post-Traumatic Psycho-Social Support

In a most general definition, trauma can be defined as a psychological or emotional response to an experience that creates or disturbs a person or that creates profound sadness.

Many experiences such as accidents, illnesses or injuries, exposures to violence, losses of loved ones or divorces can lead to traumas.

Everyone experiences a traumatic event differently because everyone faces new negative experiences in the light of other previous experiences that a person has previously encountered in his/her life.

Individuals and groups even become more vulnerable if violence is combined with other traumatic incidents, such as intense conflicts and violence in the country the people live or lived in, trauma of displacement for asylum, loss, adaptation problems experienced in the host society or socio-economic difficulties.

When people cannot cope with the trauma they experience, they may encounter many symptoms that influence their daily lifes.

Some of the psychological and psychosocial effects that are symptomatic for victims of violence are as follows:

– Pain caused by the damage of physical body integrity such as injuries

– Psychological depression due to pain;

– Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder;

– Loss of self-confidence;

– Feelings like intense guilt, fear, anxiety, shame;

– Sleep disturbances and appetite disorders;

– Physical disorders;

– Self-injurious behavior extending to suicidal behavior;

– Developing anxiety disorders such as panic disorder;

– Addictions.

All these traumatic experiences hinder people from having a good mental health and hinder them from overcoming psycho-social problems.

Therefore, psychosocial support plays an important role for helping refugees to cope with their problems and experiences.

Psycho-social support includes the strengthening of individuals against psychological discrepancies that may arise after traumas, the reduction or abolition of traumatic symptoms, the redevelopment of disrupted social relations, provision, strengthening and support of people in order to recognize their potential needs for psycho-social support.

Psycho-social support might include:

– Providing psychological support to persons suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders;

– Identifying and directing those who need psychiatric services;

– Providing other social and financial assistance;

– Allowing individuals and groups to participate in post-trauma psychosocial support services so that they will be able to identify their own needs;

– Allowing people to be prepared for possible emergencies and improving their coping skills.

Psycho-social support can be provided in a variety of ways by both public and non-governmental organizations:

  • Assessment of Needs:The Assessment of Needs includes the assessment of needs after a traumatic experience and the referral to further support services.
  • Psychological First Aid: Psychological First Aid means that basic psychological aid and information is given to traumatized people. In consequence, people might be relieved by expressing themselves and by talking about the incidents they have experienced. Psychological First Aid can be realized in the form of group interviews, by distributing brochures or through other media tools.
  • Referral and Guidance: Referral and Guidance is aimed at those who are found to need psychological and psychiatric support. These people are directed to other specialists and institutions so that they can receive the relevant services.
  • Creation of an Information Center: The aim is to create an easily accessible Information Center, where information on basic protection can be shared with all people in need.
  • Call the Society for Action: Awareness- raising of the society on post-traumatic rehabilitation and psycho-social support activities.
  • Social Projects: The implementation of social projects is one of the most frequently used methods for psycho-social support. It enables post-traumatized people to develop coping capacities by participating in social life activities and it allows them to gain the sense of regaining control of their life.
  • Trainings: Trainings are the most common form of psycho-social support. Trainings are given by social workers and other specialists working in this area.

It is extremely important that the special needs of victims of violence are taken into consideration by the social workers as the latter are experts in the field of violence.

The expert should also take in mind the sources of the violence.

However, it is not always possible to identify individual, namely person-specific needs in the first place.

In case that your psycho-social support is not good for you, keep in mind that your problem is not unsolvable. It is possible that your support is not suitable for you, but the problem itself may be solved.

If this is the case, please share this feeling with social workers and experts.

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