126 a field guide for implementation of pfa in

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126 A field guide for implementation of PFA in emergencies, developed by the World Health Organisation, War Trauma Foundation, and World Vision, has been endorsed by 24 NGOs and UN agencies, including UNHCR. 127 According to the field guide, the guidelines “reflect the emerging science and international consensus on how to support people in the immediate aftermath of extremely stressful events.” PFA involves helping people to access basic needs and services, helping people to cope with their problems, including helping them to access support and coping mechanisms within their families and communities, giving accurate information about the crisis, and connecting people with social support. Outlining the key components of PFA, the guide emphasises that PFA is based on the following three principles in order to support people’s long-term recovery: • Feeling safe, connected to others, calm and hopeful; • Having access to social, physical and emotional support; and • Feeling able to help themselves, as individuals and communities. As such, it is evident that PFA is one approach that could be incorporated into core protection activities in order to improve their psychosocial impact and ensure that protection activities address people’s key concerns and needs. However, it is important to note two key limitations. Firstly, PFA is not an evidence-based treatment. It is a response to initial needs, whereas if more serious additional needs were identified, specific mental health or psychosocial responses would be needed. 128 Secondly, PFA is most appropriate in settings where exposure to trauma – through exposure to conflict, displacement, or violence – is recent. This may include settings where violence continues to be experienced by individuals within camp-based settings, for example. However, in settings in which UNHCR works that are more stable, PFA is not always suitable response for community-wide interventions. However, many of the skills taught in PFA are useful in all humanitarian settings. Receiving a half day orientations in PFA may be useful to many UNHCR staff. 126 IASC (2007). 127 WHO, War Trauma Foundation & World Vision (2011). 128 Fox, Burkle, Bass et. al. (2012). 55 A Global Review
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3.4 UNHCR and the MHPSS framework In the course of this review, some resistance to the term psychosocial within UNHCR emerged. This included concerns expressed by UNHCR staff that psychosocial activities, specifically, are already being supported under current policy approaches, and therefore that introducing the term psychosocial and the MHPSS framework more broadly is neither necessary nor an effective approach to strengthening current activities. However, the MHPSS framework is a valuable reframing based on important principles that can improve quality and integration of services. Firstly, by definition, the term psychosocial enables a focus on the individual embedded within the environment, and therefore focuses attention on both specific issues individuals may be facing, and also the broader environmental factors influencing these problems. UNICEF’s framing of psychosocial activities as a way of reinforcing “well-being,
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  • Fall '19
  • Humanitarian aid, psychosocial support

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