Natural disasters leave a trail of devastation, but the humanity that rushes to the aid of those suffering during and after these events take place is nothing short of heroic. As humanitarians aid the sufferers, they are putting their own well-being – and in some cases their lives – on the line to offer those is need a helping hand. However, volunteers often experience second-hand trauma after going through these taxing conditions as well as lacking organizational support.
The sad truth is that mental health faculties in humanitarian aid are less than ideal. Traumatic experiences, dangerous conditions, long hours and chronic stress all negatively affect one’s mental health, leaving workers to handle anxiety, depression, compassion fatigue, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on their own.
Organizations must make sure that their mental and emotional health treatment is adequate for their line of work. Providing clear job descriptions as well as working hours at the beginning of a scheduling period allows workers the freedom to plan for their personal lives outside of work. Other methods include team debriefings, one-on-one meetings, and mental health workshops.
Humanitarians should also help themselves in the process by practicing emotional strength training as part of their routine to promote a healthy mind and lifestyle. When the work becomes too stressful and adequate resources are unavailable, it’s important to seek out professional help when symptoms arise.
For more information on the how to improve mental health in the humanitarian world, please see the provided resource created by Life for Relief and Development.
Guide created by Life for Relief and Development, specialists in humanitarian services