March 4, 2014
Crisis Management workshop underway in SVG

After this week, a number of persons in St Vincent and the Grenadines will be better able to respond to and manage a crisis in this country.{{more}}

Through the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and the Adventist Disaster Relief Agency, a four-day workshop began yesterday, to address training persons in trauma response and crisis management.

Members of the International Behavioural Health Trauma Team will be facilitating the workshop.

In her remarks at the opening ceremony, team leader Winnetta Baker stated that the team, whose goal was to provide hope and build capacity, was extremely happy to offer their assistance.

She also outlined what will be covered during the sessions.

“Our training includes didactic education on two models of crisis intervention. Psychological first aid is one of those models. It focuses on intervening right at the moment of the crisis. So, as soon as possible, right after the crisis has occurred, we would utilize the psychological first aid skills,” Baker said.

“The next model that we focus on in training is utilizing three skills in community resilience. That model really focuses on intervention beyond the immediate. So, looking at how to best work with folks who are affected, weeks after, months after and even years after.”

Additionally, Baker noted that participants will be engaged in discussions and experimental learning via role plays and practice sessions.

Coordinator of response from the Ministry of Health Joselle Miller noted the importance of the training workshop, as it will address the “gaping hole as it exists in St Vincent for human resource personnel to assist in this area.”

Miller gave an overview of the Ministry’s response, following the December floods, to highlight the crisis management techniques that were utilized in the country.

“Immediately following the torrential rains and deadly floods, a psycho-social team from the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment were mobilized. This team, comprised of psychologists, counsellors and social workers, were present at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital on Christmas Day to assist persons brought in from varying communities for medical attention,” she said.

The response coordinator highlighted the efforts of the counsellors from the Ministry of Education to work with affected persons in communities.

“I must say that these counsellors extended themselves by leaps and bounds,” Miller said. “All the efforts were targeted towards helping our people return to the closest sense of normalcy as is possible following such an unexpected trauma.”

Miller pointed out that following the reopening of schools, the Ministry sought help from faith-based organizations, which had qualified counsellors interested in assisting. She noted that evidence of post-traumatic disorder would not be immediate and so counselling services continue to be extended to persons.

Pastor Dermoth Baptiste, the president of the Seventh Day Adventist Mission, noted that the SDA church was one of the first faith-based organizations to respond after the disaster.

“Through our feeding programme, we helped to satisfy the basic human need of hunger. In addition to that, we are providing social support,” Baptiste said, as he revealed that the pathfinders and social services personnel have been assisting persons in various communities. (BK)