Theme leader: Jana Javakhishvili
The recent events in Israel, Gaza, Ukraine, but also Afghanistan, Sudan, Jemen, Ethiopia, DRC, Armenia and other areas in the world call for available relevant information and guidelines on how we can support trauma survivors caught up in armed conflict.
We are facing extremely difficult times globally. While the war in Ukraine is about to go into its third year, another horrible war broke out in Israel and Palestine/Gaza, causing unrest and uncertainty in the whole middle east region, and immense human suffering. Some of our colleagues involved in the GCTS are personally and directly affected. Our hearts go out to all human beings who suffer from the terror and atrocities caused by this war and other armed conflicts across the globe.
As GCTS we recognize the importance of suitable mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) interventions - even under the most acute and horrifying situations. Our Armed Conflict theme group has over the last months been working on a position paper related to such interventions during ongoing conflict. We aim to present this in the upcoming year.
In the meantime, on this page we present information that may be of helpful in situations of armed conflict, both for survivors or for trauma professionals.
Please contact Jana Javakhishvili for questions or suggestions.
Surviving Warfare Adversities.
A Brief Survival Advice for Civilians Under War Stress.
By Arik Shalev - Read it here
One year since Russia’s attack on Ukraine
Self-help psychoeducational resource and online counselling
For persons experiencing trauma related symptoms we refer to a self-help psychoeducational resource and online counselling for those who need it.
It is run by a team of professionals of Federation Global Initiative on Psychiatry (FGIP) and Ukrainian consultants.
Web site: samopomi.ch
Web site: . samopomo.ch
Links received from Ukrainian professionals to support/donate
To donate to the reliable charitable fund "Povernys zhyvym" ("Come back alive"). Your donation will be used to buy the protection and medi cal supplies. Instruction on the donation you can make here: https://savelife.in.ua/en/donate/
Even a small donation, multiplied by the number of supporters, will make a difference. So please, share this with your colleagues, friends, other people that you can outreach, share on FB or other media etc., even if you yourselves are not ready to donate directly.
Please make the record in this depersonalized form (https://forms.gle/byRRT1SMbVwgcsUa9). You will be asked just to enter your country and the sum of your donation. No other information will be requested.
The Journal of Traumatic Stress has created a ‘virtual special issue’ on war and terrorism
(1) ESTSS statement supporting Ukraine was released on February 24 https://estss.org/the-european-society-for-traumatic-stress-studies-estss-supports-ukraine/
(2) ESTSS recommendations for mental health professionals to act was released on February 26 https://estss.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/ESTSS.Recommendatoins.Ukraine.2022.pdf
(3) An ESTSS training program for Ukrainian professionals has been launched funded by ESTSS
(4) ESTSS members in Lithuania, Georgia, and Poland are active in preparation for psychosocial care for Ukrainian refugees, and more countries will join
European Journal of Psychotraumatology, ESTSS's journal, has released a call-for-papers: Early intervention in the aftermath of trauma: assessment and response. Guest editor Rodrigo Figueroa.
Mental health screening tools
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to collaborate on GPS translation and cultural adaptation for other languages needed in areas impacted by armed conflict.
Other tools see Assessment
Other relevant links for psychosocial support
WHO’s 5-session stress management course for large groups
An Illustrated Guide is a stress management guide for coping with adversity. The guide aims to equip people with practical skills to help cope with stress. A few minutes each day are enough to practice the self-help techniques...
WHO-UNHCR needs assessment guidelines
IFRC Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support
contributes knowledge and provides service to the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)
The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)
The IASC Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings provides resources and information for anyone who is involved in the psychosocial and psychological care of people affected by the crisis in the Ukraine. These resources can be accessed here:
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people.
Developing a position paper on physical and psychological survival of war stress
Project leader: Jana Javakhishvili
Project group: Stefanie Freel, Chris Hoeboer, Miranda Olff, Janne Punski-Hoogervorst, Joe Ruzek, Arieh Shalev.
During war hostilities civilians are exposed to a myriad of severe stressors, major losses, and extreme situational demands. Whilst such stressor might be traumatic in the long run, the task at hand during hostilities is survival and harm mitigation. At such time survival efforts not only involves the individual, but also families, attachment networks, and larger groups. They encompass physical and psychological survival, attaining food shelter and safety, re-evaluating the new realities’ constraints and openings, maintaining orientation and communication, adjusting to losses and overcoming exposure to grotesque death and deconfiguration.
At such time as well, individuals’ inherent resilience and intuitive resourcefulness are challenged by unexpected and, at times, inescapable stressors and require adjustment and adaptation. Psychological first aid, including guiding, training and advising lay helpers and professionals is important during hostilities. However, understanding and addressing the burden on those directly exposed is truly critical: they are the ones who evaluate threat and protection, assess risks and opportunities, sooth children – and one another; process and adjust to changing situational constraints, weigh information accuracy and relevance, derive and test predictions and courses of action and engage in salutogenic activities.
We need to directly address those at harm’s way, help by advice and guidance based on extant knowledge taken from disaster and combat psychiatry, from relocation and refugees situations, captivity and genocide survivorship and other empirical or descriptive sources. Inherent to this work is the repeated observations of individuals and families’ resourcefulness during extreme conditions and a belief in inherent resiliency potential in each individual.
Shalev AY. Surviving Warfare Adversities. A Brief Survival Advice for Civilians Under War Stress. PMGP [Internet]. 2022 Jun. 10;7(1):e0701357. Available from: https://e-medjournal.com/index.php/psp/article/view/357
Javakhishvili et al., in prep. Position paper: Mental health and psychosocial support during ongoing armed conflict