Online supervision will support mental health workers in humanitarian settings

UNSW researchers to study whether online peer supervision can promote the well-being of mental health workers in displaced populations in project funded by global charity elrha.

The project, led by Dr Ruth Wells of the School of Psychiatry, UNSW Medicine & Health, is funded by Elrha’s Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2H2) program.

Dr Wells said the funding would provide the opportunity to work with academic and humanitarian organizations in Bangladesh, Syria and Turkey, where an online peer-to-peer clinical supervision program for local humanitarian mental health workers will be evaluated. .

“Local mental health humanitarian workers generally receive very limited training for their complex and difficult work with displaced populations, when they are often displaced and experience the same realities as the people they support,” he said. she declared.

“These workers are at high risk of burnout and health problems. “

The project will oversee the online supervision of these mental health workers, facilitated by trained psychologists. It will promote well-being and offer continuous professional development to aid workers.

The peer-to-peer nature of the project will help create communities of practice in these complex contexts and build the capacity of local mental health systems.

UNSW’s dean of medicine and health, Professor Vlado Perkovic, said the funding would help equip the humanitarian community with support that works.

“Our researchers are working with humanitarian communities to share knowledge and build capacity in these areas. This project will ensure that mental health aid workers receive the right help when they need it most, ”said Prof Perkovic.

Co-investigator Scientia, Associate Professor Simon Rosenbaum, School of Psychiatry, UNSW Medicine & Health said: Improve technical skills.

“This involves regular online meetings, during which practitioners discuss the challenges they face with their clients and group members provide suggestions, support and feedback. Despite this, current mental health programs run by humanitarian organizations often do not include clinical supervision or professional development for mental health workers.

“The project will have tangible benefits for mental health practitioners and for those who access mental health services, staff providing services and organizations as a whole.”

A / Prof. Rosenbaum said access to supportive clinical supervision should be available to all mental health professionals.

Dr Wells said: “If successful, the model is highly scalable and may have implications for other humanitarian contexts around the world.

UNSW will partner with Associate Professor Ceren Acarturk at Koc University in Turkey, Dr Ammar Beetar at the Hope Revival Organization (HRO) in Syria and Professor Muhammad Kamruzzaman Mozumder at Dhaka University in Bangladesh.

Elrha is a global charity that works in partnership with humanitarian organizations, researchers, innovators and the private sector to solve complex humanitarian problems.

The R2HC program aims to improve health outcomes by strengthening the evidence base for public health interventions in humanitarian crises. The R2HC is funded by the UK Department of Foreign, Commonwealth and Development, Wellcome and the Department of Health and Welfare through the National Institute for Health Research.

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