CAFOMI Improving Children’s mental health through Psycho social support at Nyakabande TC.

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CAFOMI Improving Children’s mental health through Psycho social support at Nyakabande TC.

By Vivian Aita, Nicholas Shawn Mugarura & Samuel Mugisha

Inamahoro Furaha (Not real names) is an elderly woman who came to Uganda seeking asylum from the most recent armed violence and conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

With a family size of six and being the eldest Inamahoro successfully made it to the Ugandan side through Bunagana border in South-western Uganda.

Exposure to armed conflict, forced displacement, and associated adversities such as loss of personal property and the killings of their loved ones has substantially increased vulnerability to distress and subsequent mental disorders (depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia) among conflict-affected populations.

Inamahoro is one of the Care givers to children and adolescents displaced by war at Nyakabande transit center who need constant mental health and psychosocial support.

Recently with funding from Child Fund International, CAFOMI was able to offer Psychosocial counseling services to over 10,282 (4549M, 5733F) Children, Adolescents and their care givers.

While responding to the current Congolese influx at Nyakabande Transit center it has come to our notice that majority of the persons of concern fleeing are children who have experienced traumatic events due to violence and armed conflict which affects their mental wellbeing.

On arrival it’s our responsibility to warmly receive them and give them Psychological First Aid which is a psychosocial support activity that helps people who have gone through traumatic events. Through psychosocial support the affected populations are able to experience emotional healing and hence promoting recovery from trauma.

“We offer them trauma rehabilitation using Trauma Informed approaches to help the survivors of violence cope positively with their distressful conditions”  Nega Wilberforce, CAFOMI Assistant Psychosocial Counselor  at Nyakabande transit Center in Kisoro District.

Inamahoro Furaha suffered trauma after witnessing the killings of her family members (Husband and the child) during the attacks by M23 rebels.

“I couldn’t sleep because I kept getting flash backs of images of the rebels slaughtering my child and husband in cold blood, but thanks to CAFOMI Psychosocial counselors that offered me grieve and loss counseling sessions coupled with mind relaxation techniques that now I can sleep and am able to cope positively with life despite the death of my husband and the child” Inamahoro Furaha lamented.

Through the support of CAFOMI Psychosocial counselors at Nyakabande transit center Furaha was offered grieve and loss counselling sessions which helped her process the traumatic events she has been through.

The main form of therapeutic interventions offered by CAFOMI counsellors at the Nyakabande transit center includes Narrative Exposure Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) coupled with Cognitive Processing Therapy.

“These Psychological interventions have been useful in addressing mental disorders that can easily be triggered by the traumatic events” Mugisha Samuel, CAFOMI MHPSS Clinical Supervisor.

According to Morris Ayikanying, CAFOMI Programs Coordinator, Mental health disorders are a reality, silently destroying people in the world today however we have a collective responsibility to raise awareness on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support.

“When I started receiving Psychosocial counseling services I can now sleep and I am hopeful that life will be good as am more resilient” Inamahoro Furaha expressed.

CAFOMI protection team continues to support Persons of concern, some few MHPSS severe cases (PTSD, Depression, Psychosis, and Anxiety) of children, adolescents and their care givers that are identified and assessed using the psychological assessment tools are referred to Medical Teams International for Psychiatry interventions and management.

We thank our current partners, United nations high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR), Office of the prime minister (OPM) GoU,  Child fund international, CARE International, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Malteser international and Norwegian Refugee Council for their support towards delivering humanitarian assistance to displaced persons at Nyakabande transit centre and the entire refugee response operation in Kampala and South western Uganda, however more support will be required to address the daily growing needs of refugees in Uganda.

 

 

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