MSF mental health broadcasts start in El Salvador

"The idea is to reach as many people as possible, to explain that these are normal reactions under such circumstances and to offer some advice that help them manage the situation."

 

Radio broadcasts, developed by MSF in El Salvador, are being used to
help survivors of the recent earthquakes cope with the likely
psychological problems they will be experiencing.

The radio messages address issues such as anger, anxiety, difficulties
sleeping or depression, and are intended to give practical advice to
the population to help them overcome the emotional trauma. In
cooperation with this MSF initiative, two national and three regional
radio stations will regularly broadcast the messages as a public
service for a period of two weeks.

The two earthquakes combined have affected 1,3 million people and
health units report that around 45% of consultations are related to
mental health problems.

"This initiative is complementary to the field work we are running in
the most affected areas of El Salvador," explained Diana Vidalies, the
psychologist responsible for MSF's mental health programme in El
Salvador. "The idea is to reach as many people as possible, to explain
that these are normal reactions under such circumstances and to offer
some advice that help them manage the situation."

MSF is providing psychological support in the camp of El Cafetalon, in
Santa Tecla, and in the town of Armenia, Sonsonate Department, with
victims of the first earthquake on 13th January, as well as in the
Department of San Vicente, heavily affected by the second earthquake a
month later. In close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and
health units, a five-psychologist mobile team runs both group and
individual therapy sessions for children and adults. MSF has also
trained and supervises psycho-educators who offer information to the
population, identify cases and refer individuals to the health units.