Many refugees from war areas are massively suffering of acute or long term disturbances following a traumatic incident. Unfortunately, neither acute nor in the long run vacancies for psychotherapy will be available for those who are affected.
To reduce acute symptoms – e.g. insomnia with nightmares, fright, tension, aggression or the repeat of traumatic incidents (flashbacks) or to check chronical subsequent damage – we have available proven and tested means of self-help. This includes information material which informs you about signs of mental disorders, their symptoms and what you can do about it.
To do something greatly reduces the feeling of helplessness which otherwise might lead right into trauma. The information material guides you to do exercises (by reading or by listening to audio data) and by which you can control or soften the impact of symptoms.
Traumatized adults and children often show different symptoms and therefore one requires different methods to cope with the symptoms in question. For this very reason we have special information material for traumatized parents and special information material for traumatized children.
This material is available online. Independently from a set time and place refugees are able to use them. It is self-explanatory that websites and contents are no substitute for necessary trauma psychotherapy. However, it is a first aid kit to reduce the psychological stress of traumatized persons – in case immediate psychotherapy is not available.
Qualified material out of books, data contents or CDs are being translated and spoken as tone audiograms. Further material will be edited and audio-data as well as written text will be made available via Internet for traumatized persons. In order to make sure that persons from different cultures will benefit from this material it is necessary to consider the different backgrounds of these persons. So far we have publications in Arabic, English and Farsi – the number of languages will continuously be enlarged.
In order to make sure that persons from different cultures will benefit from this material it is necessary to consider the different backgrounds of these persons. So far we have publications in Arabic, English and Farsi – the number of languages will continuously be enlarged.
Helpers have a great demand for more training and assisting information material. They urgently require assistance to avoid excessive demand and to prevent a secondary trauma (it is possible to develop trauma symptoms just by listening to traumatic incidents told by refugees). In order to prevent a “burn out” tools will be made available to protect them right from the beginning resp. to recognize corresponding symptoms in due course and to go against it.
Implementation of project
The website is drafted in that way that it can easily be extended while further text and information material resp. translations into different languages arrive. Some of the existing text information has already been made available by authors or publishers, some is newly written. Information material from websites of psychosocial centers was used. At present it is being translated into different languages. A sound studio will provide a good quality recording. Audio data of some text material was already available in different languages. Urgency for that is demonstrated by a general positive reaction. Traumatized refugees as well as their helpers quickly need some kind of first aid. The commitment of voluntary helpers enabled us to already go online with a first version of our website.
When creating this website and when publishing the corresponding text material as well as the exercises for self- help the authors were fully aware that they did something new. Up to now such exercises were only made available to those affected and were accompanied by therapy. This was done to avoid wrong use or negative implications. However, even in the long run most refugees will have no access to psychotherapy and therefore also no access to proven self-help methods. Being convinced to help the affected persons the authors therefore decided on publication.
Possibility of assistance
In case you are a native speaker of one of the languages which has not yet been used for translation, it would be very much appreciated if you would offer your assistance to translate the existent text material into your mother tongue.
In case you are in possession of own material in the field of education for self-help this also could be useful for refugees.
Dr. Birgit Kracke, Medical specialist for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Solingen