Resilience-building starting at sports academies in Athens

Sport is a wonderful opportunity for both universal and targeted psychosocial interventions. But it has been hard to get clubs to see the link. One needs broad-minded coaches and clubs like Milon in Athens. The Ergo NGO and our brilliant volunteers grabbed the opportunity. Have a great start with the programme next week!


Exploring culture and mental health from different angles

I am not sure I enjoy many conferences and  their ad hoc themes these days, but I certainly learnt a lot from this one built around Prof Nusrat Husain’s impressively evolving global mental health group at Manchester University.

It is rare to have the opportunity to hear presenters tackle the same question and its implementation from different country perspectives – admittedly with a strong Pakistan contingency and a few good friends from the last visit. 

Mechanisms of impact of trauma appear pretty consistent, but with – not that – different expressions, and – frustratingly unequal – systems to address them. Yet, such global initiatives try to bridge some gaps. I particularly liked that speakers did not mince their words on domestic violence and women’s inequalities.

Re-processing the trauma without EVER forgetting the terror

The eerie silence at the Topography of Terror in Berlin, where the SS headquarters once stood (and next to the remnants of the Wall), reminded me of the Genocide Memorial in Rwanda over the burial grounds of hundreds of thousands victims.

The message sounded clear in its silence: Helping people to rebuild their lives does not mean forgetting what led to the horrors in the first place. Conflicts around the world, even some voting patterns in the west, do not leave one too confident on human memory alone…

Nice to see increasing publishers’ interest in Global Child Mental Health

Maybe the world is getting smaller, for better and for worse…but there are promising trends across policy and research in increasing interest and funding in global child mental health, a usual reference to low- and middle-income countries.

It is greatly appreciated that the journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMH) took the lead in publishing a Special Issue – watch out for interesting studies from Kenya, Egypt and Jordan, among others:


Back to the future with the Leicester Star Alam refugee resettlement team 

It was nice to roll back the years and come home (occasionally) to the Leicester Housing Department. This is where it all started with the homeless families support team, the first and by far most advanced in the U.K. Different resettlement teams followed, showing continuity and a welfare culture that is rare in many organisations these days.

The benefits were clear to see, despite the adverse economic climate for vulnerable groups. When the opportunity came, the resettlement team for refugee families was set up in house. Over the two workshops it was refreshing to mix with new staff picking up the baton and bringing diverse experiences from all over the Alam (world)!

WACIT psychoeducation resource on refugee children during different migration stages

Research measures are not sensitive enough yet in making this distinction between the impact of different traumatic events on refugee children; and research is just beginning to focus on the past, during and present. But Nilufer eloquently putChild refugee camp these messages across in her psychoeducation resource. Moving away from an all-or-nothing position of trauma-focused interventions, there are actually so many opportunities, even during transition, to make a difference through multi-modal approaches:


WACIT psychoeducation resources in Kinyrwanda by someone really special

Rwanda motherAll translations and contributions have their own meaning and importance. Receiving these three translations from Amina though is especially touching and a privilege, because of her unique experience as a sufferer and now an excellent carer in Rwanda. Naturally, The Gallagher Trust was the catalyst for both, so really nice to see the logo on the booklets, which is a lot more than symbolism:

(plus two more on the WACIT website)

Worth trying to learn the language and visiting this thriving country as proof of hope.