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Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

The international organization for Migration (IOM) has led a series of individual and community based mental health and psychosocial (MHPSS) activities to support families impacted by the devastating December shipwreck off Africa’s Mauritanian coast.This initiative which was supported by the EU- IOM joint initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration was done through group discussions, psycho drama, psycho social support and referrals.“Altogether, the activities aimed at facilitating healing among survivors, enabling durable family support mechanisms, encouraging community proactiveness to the needs of survivors and promoting positive perceptions of returnees,” Evans Binan, IOM’s MHPSS Officer in Gambia said.“In each community survivors were encouraged to bond through small group circles. These discussions encouraged survivors to share positive and negative experiences, as well as discuss and suggest available coping strategies,” he added.Simultaneously, small groups were held with families and community members. These were aimed at creating space for learning how best to attend to the needs of survivors who often must destigmatize the experiences of returnees to promote community resilience.While relating the effect of the initiative, one of the survivors and benefactor of the initiative stated that, “I feel better now, but people in the village keep talking about it, I don’t feel shy about it anymore.”IOM aims at training between two to five volunteers in each community to be MHPSS focal persons, and equipping them with the tools to support families.

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