• BEARING WITNESS

  • With each year trending towards a global uptick in displacement, the need for aid workers and volunteers could not be greater and their work more valued. Yet, the frontline work of constantly bearing witness to people’s suffering and immense loss can have tangible effects on responder’s own wellbeing, with particular concern over burnout and secondary trauma. Aid workers are frequently themselves targetted by violence and subject to extreme risks of kidnapping and death. This past year we have seen a rise in organisations dealing with an increase in suicides among human rights researchers and aid workers, and an overall fallout from reduced retention among highly-skilled practictioners.

     

    These concerns are often overlooked in all stages of planning, deployment, and return. Much of the weaknesses here lie in the lack of resources on staff care and few collaborations between humanitarian organisations on building awareness and capacity for psychological support for staff and volunteers, especially for aid workers and health practitioners who have themselves been directly displaced. In the context of resettlement, community groups and schools working alongside those newly arrived are equally exposed to the risk of secondary trauma.

     

    Bearing Witness addresses three key areas - prevention of burnout; prevention and dealing with secondary trauma; and self-care techniques and coping mechanisms for all those working alongside displaced communities. Practical workshops and trainings will be taught in small focused groups and further supported online through interactive lessons, a dedicated self-care community of practice, and toolkits. These workshops will be supported through creative and expressive forms of self-care and healing.

     

    Bearing Witness also looks at better policy engagement to promote more serious internal commitments by organisations and institutions on staff self-care and greater awareness amongst individuals of timely self-care interventions.

     

    Our working group brings together leading practitioners on vicarious trauma to connect expertise and strategise our collaborative work here.

     

     

  • ARTICLES

  • RESOURCES

  • Start Network Humanitarian Wellbeing Survey

    START NETWORK

    Self-Care Needs and Resources of Mental Health and Psychological Support Workers in Syria

    Abaad

    Managing Stress in Humanitarian Workers -Guidelines for Good Practice

    Antares Foundation

    Essential Principles of Staff Care

    The Konterra Group

    Caring for Volunteers - A Psychological Support Toolkit

    The Psychosocial Centre

    Trauma and Self-Care

    UN Human Rights

    How to Look After Your Mental Health

    Mental Health Foundation

  • PODCASTS

  • World Humanitarian Day 2018

    Oxford Comment

    PTSD and First Responders with Dr. Samanatha Dutton

    Rescue the Rescuer with Stephen Kavalkovich

    The Letter That Changed Me - Season 2, Episode 3.

    Everyday Emergency, MSF

  • VICARIOUS TRAUMA

  • Overseas Development Institute

     

     

    Refugee Trauma Initiative

     

     

  • BOOKS

  • Trauma Stewardship - An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others

    Laura van Dermoot Lipsky

    The Body Keeps the Score - Mind, Brain and Body on the Transformation of Trauma

    Bessel van der Kolk

    Help for the Helper - Self-Care Strategies for Managing Burnout and Stress.

    Babette Rothschild

    Psychosocial Support for Humanitarian Aid Workers - A Roadamp of Traum and Critical Incident Care

    Fiona Dunkley

    Vicarious Trauma and Disaster Mental Health

    Gertie Quitangon and Mark. R. Evces

  • FROM THE FIELD

  • Outside the Asylum: A Memoir of War, Disaster and Humanitarian Psychiatry

    Lynne Jones

    Another Day in Paradise: Front Line Stories from International Aid Workers

    Carol Bergman

    The World's Emergency Room: The Growing Threat to Doctors, Nurses, and Humanitarian Workers

    Michael Vanrooyen

    Chasing Misery:

    An Anthology of Essays by Women in Humanitarian Responses

    Kelsey Hoppe

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