Activity, Education, Health, Vaccine

Victims Support Fund Launches Protection and Psychosocial Support in Intervention States

In a significant stride toward addressing the pressing Mental Health needs of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria, the Victims Support Fund (VSF) has officially launched the implementation of the 2023 Protection and Psychosocial Support Program in Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, and Plateau States. The VSF recognizes the critical importance of comprehensive mental health interventions for individuals enduring the harsh conditions of displacement, with statistics from the World Health Organization revealing that 1 in 5 IDPs grapple with various mental illnesses.

Teaming up with Bella Care Rehabilitation/Medical Center, the VSF is conducting extensive training for over 150 Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) and volunteers on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS). Equipped with knowledge encompassing the detection, intervention, and referral of common mental illnesses, these frontline workers are set to make a profound impact in IDP settlements.

The training curriculum focuses on several key mental health issues prevalent among IDPs, such as depression, self-harm/suicide, anxiety disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and drug use issues. Depression, stemming from the loss of loved ones, abuse, of property, and financial instability, is compounded by the uncertainty of the future and physical disabilities within this vulnerable group. Addressing self-harm and suicide tendencies, often linked to depression, psychosis, or personality disorders, the program also focuses on anxiety disorder resulting from persistent worries about life issues and uncertainties, along with PTSD prevalent among those who have experienced life-altering events.

During a training session in Adamawa State, a participant expressed gratitude, stating, “We appreciate the support from the Victims Support Fund. As health workers, many of us have not received training of this nature since our time in school. This training is essential because we serve as many mental health patients’ primary point of contact. I urge other organizations to conduct similar training sessions to empower more community health workers across the state.

Another participant in Kaduna mentioned that “this is the first-time training of this caliber i.e. MHPSS is done in the primary health level. They appreciated the VSF for this initiative.

The training serves a dual purpose: building the capacity of CHEWs and volunteers while simultaneously preparing them to manage Safe Spaces. These safe spaces are equipped with essential resources to serve as a protective environment where children, adolescents, and women can access quality mental health and psychosocial support. The safe spaces are situated within PHCs that are equipped with rape kits to mitigate the health risk of survivors of Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV). The safe space will be staffed by the trained CHEWs and implemented in collaboration with Civil Society Organization (CSO) partners. Importantly, these safe spaces are designed to outlive the VSF, ensuring sustainability in the provision of psychosocial support to the affected communities.

As the Protection and Psychosocial Support Program takes root in the intervention states, the VSF remains dedicated to fostering resilience, healing, and recovery among the most vulnerable in society. The impact of this initiative is expected to ripple through communities, creating a lasting positive change in the lives of those who have endured the hardships of displacement and conflict.

The Victims Support Fund remains unwavering in its commitment to providing relief to victims of insurgency and armed conflict in Nigeria. Our focus on Peacebuilding and Citizenship Support, Livelihood and Recovery Support, Protection and Psychosocial Support, and Education Support reflects our holistic approach to rebuilding communities affected by these crises.

Leave A Comment

Your Comment
All comments are held for moderation.