Médecins Sans Frontiéres & IMHANS, Kashmir trains medical staff on psychological first aid

Srinagar, 8 October 2016: The international medical humanitarian organisation – Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontiéres (MSF) in collaboration with Institute of Mental and Neuro Sciences (IMHANS) Kashmir conducted on 8 October 2016 at the Community Centre – a training workshop on psychological first aid (PFA) for nurses and paramedical staff to commemorate World Mental Health Day 2016. The Principal of Kashmir Medical College, Professor Kaiser gave an opening address to the workshop. In the wake of ongoing unrest in the valley and a potential increase in the need for psychological intervention, the workshop helped medical staff expand their knowledge and skills on quality delivery of PFA. The World Health Organization defines psychological first aid as “humane, supportive and practical assistance to fellow human beings suffering serious crisis events.”  IMHANS took a lead by formulating a crisis intervention team which has already done more than 350 PFA sessions.

“People are understandably distressed, having often lost loved ones as well as a sense of security and safety. PFA involves normalising a person’s response to a crisis situation as well as linking with services. This workshop uses an interactive approach to train the very people who will be delivering this immediate care to those affected by the recent unrest and most in need of psychological support.” said Frieda Andernach, Mental Health Officer, MSF India. The workshop, through role plays, group discussions, exercises encouraged the participants to learn from each other’s’ experiences and knowledge sharing. Furthermore, MSF trainers also ensured that the basic PFA guidelines were adjusted according to the context and culture in Kashmir.

Recently, a middle-aged woman, one of our former patients from south Kashmir presented to one of our clinics with clear symptoms of depression.  She had a relapse because of the ongoing unrest. During her counselling sessions, she narrated how she is constantly worried about the future of her children given the current situation.” tells one of the MSF counsellors.

As a medical organisation and mental health actor in the Kashmir valley, we are, of course, concerned about the consequences of the already three months long and ongoing unrest. We hope this workshop will help increase the knowledge and skills of medical staff involved in the delivery of much needed Psychological First Aid,”added Magali Roudaut, Country Director, MSF India.


About MSF

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organisation that delivers aid to people affected by armed conflicts, epidemics, natural or man-made disasters, or exclusion from healthcare. This is achieved through humanitarian principles of neutrality and impartiality.

MSF has been working in the Kashmir valley since 2001, providing mental health care to people in need. Currently, MSF is offering psychological support (eg individual counselling) in different clinics in Srinagar, Pattan, Baramulla, Sopore, Pulwama, Kakapora and Bandipora. For more information on the opening hours of the clinics please call: 09906 788585 between 8:30am and 5:30pm Mondays to Fridays.


For more information, please contact:

Malika Gupta, Communications Manager

Médecins Sans Frontiéres (MSF)

Mobile: +91-9650807982 / india-comms@oca.msf.org

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