Research: Caring for the mental health of humanitarian volunteers in traumatic contexts: the importance of organisational support
Humanitarian workers operate in traumatic contexts, putting them at an increased risk of adverse mental health outcomes. The quality of the support they receive from their organization, their supervisor, and team members are proposed as determinants of mental illness and well-being, via the stress-appraisal process.
As part of a PhD project with Trinity College Dublin and the PS Centre, Dr. Kinan Aldamann has surveyed 409 volunteers from Sudanese Red Crescent Society, asking about perceived supervision, organizational support, team support and stress.
Perceived organizational support was found to be a key determinant of the mental health of humanitarian volunteers, with greater perceived support associated with lower distress symptomology and greater mental well-being.
In the article published in the European Journal of Psychotraumatology, Aldammann recommend that humanitarian agencies take further actions to improve their internal organization support systems to mitigate the stress associated with working in traumatic contexts. Specifically, more attention should be paid to the organizational support of the volunteers as front-line workers in humanitarian settings.
Read the full article here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/20008198.2019.1694811
PhD candidate, Psychiatrist, and MHPSS specialist
Mental health professional, specialised in mental health and psychosocial interventions in emergencies with both, field and academic interests. 13 years of experience in the MPHSS field as a volunteer, trainer, psychiatrist, programme coordinator, and researcher. Children’s mental health and voluntary work are specific areas of attention. Academic and professional background in Medicine, Psychiatry, Psychology, and Statistics.