The Red Cross Society of Seychelles (RCSS) conducts one day Psychosocial Support Session (PSP)

Ten (10) representatives from the Ministry of Family affairs, Home of the Elderly Division along with office staff from the Elderly Division on Mahe benefitted from a Psychosocial Support Session as part of the activities commemorating the World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day 2024.

In keeping with this year’s theme of “Keeping Humanity Alive”, this was done as an initiative to give back to the caregivers and to help them to take better care of themselves as they do for others.

The purpose of Psychological First Aid (PFA) for Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is to support volunteers and staff in circumstances where psychological first aid may be warranted. Given its connection with the core principles of humanity and the goal of preventing and alleviating human suffering, it is especially well-suited for the National Societies. Unquestionably, providing PFA is crucial to expediting people’s mental and emotional rehabilitation following stressful events like pandemics, traumas and disasters.

In Seychelles, the RCSS is at the forefront of adopting PFA to help affected and impacted individuals to cope with the distress originating from traumatic experiences. Psychological interventions are necessary for promoting resiliency and recovery of those impacted by reducing mental breakdown. Specifically, PFA enhances the coping of individuals through various means, including dissemination of the right information, comforting and emotional support, and fundamentally supporting traumatized individuals, thus limiting mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In recent years, the RCSS has observed a growth in the need for psychological assistance due to a number of events, including the COVID-19 pandemic. The RCSS widely acknowledged the need for psychological care as individuals at the time faced a variety of challenges, namely feelings of social isolation, financial consequences, and concerns about an uncertain future in their careers to name a few. PFA continues to be helpful in reducing distress by addressing fundamental requirements, fostering both short-term and long-term coping and functional capacity, and offering social support.

Recognizing that mental and psychosocial well-being are linked to good mental health, the RCSS works to support children, adolescents, families, and communities in achieving better mental health. This is accomplished through promoting mental health and psychosocial well-being, and providing care and treatment for kids, teens, and caregivers who are impacted by mental health issues.

As such, the RCSS has started conducting Psychosocial Sessions more gradually, recognizing the benefits it brings to the impacted, and in 2023, the RCSS supported 241 cases with PFA, particularly in relation to the events that took place on December 6–7, 2023 along with follow up sessions.

According to the RCSS Health Coordinator, Mrs. Karine Ernesta states that “There is a greater need for Psychosocial First Aid given that many individuals, particularly in today’s world, need the assistance when confronting traumatic experiences.” Furthermore, Mrs. Ernesta has observed a rise in participants interest in implementing the program in the workplace, as they would significantly reduce workplace stress among workers. Mrs. Ernesta also emphasizes the advantages of the program and urges more individuals to take part in the training offered in order to acquire the skills needed to better deal with the stress of the daily life.