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Health News Sun, 28 Apr 2019

Emergency management agencies urged to embrace psychological interventions

The Ghana Psychology Council (GPC) has underscored the need for emergency management agencies to provide emotional and psychological interventions to victims of an event.

Dr Dinah Baah-Odoom, the Registrar of GPC noted that as a country, there was much focus on the physical resources in terms of emergencies, however, psychologically, there was also the need to be prepared.

She said once these agencies identify there was a trauma, even physical, as floods or road accidents, they should know that the person psychologically was not the same and must be referred to see a Psychologist.

Dr Baah-Odoom said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), on the side-lines of a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Workshop in Accra.

It was organised by GPC in collaboration with PsyK Forum, on the topic: “Psychological- Mental Health in Emergencies”.

Dr Baah-Odoom recounted that among their objectives was to equip counsellors with basic skills to help them address issues relating to psychological trauma.

“However, the challenge is that as a country we are now trying to let people know that in case of emergencies, they have to think of psychologist and counsellors”, she added.

She said during the June 3 disaster, GPA voluntarily established a camp at Kwame Nkrumah Circle to provide support and it would be appropriate for agencies such as National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to involve the services of such professionals.

Dr Baah-Odoom told the GNA that this would enable the Council get professionals to handle such situations.

Madam Vivian Nana Ama Aubyn, Director, PsyK Forum also stated that over the years and in recent times, there had been issues of emergencies either man-made or natural disasters, and the agencies that responded to these emergencies considered only the victim’s physical health.

She further explained that they looked at those injured or had been displaced, those in need of shelter, but in most cases do not consider the psychological impact of accidents.

Citing an example, Madam Aubyn told GNA that the accident that happened on the Kintampo road; the victims, the people who were witnesses to it and even the community in which it happened, “what could be the psychological impact on them?” she asked.

She said the two-day workshop would therefore, offer participants the platform to collectively come up with a framework that would be linked into the National Framework for attending to emergencies.

Madam Aubyn, who also works with GPC, told the GNA that it would also tackle mental health dimensions of emergencies in the country being it man-made or natural disasters.

She said the objective of PsyK Forum focused on the mental well-being for all and there was a need to have a holistic approach, create more awareness for Ghana to alleviate the mental trauma or stress that comes with events.

Source: Ghananewsagency.org