On the 18th and 19th of March, Under My Olive Tree and the HST team (Health Support Team), in collaboration with Ruwwad, held a training for community members and social and youth workers who work with refugees or with people dealing with trauma to support mental health needs during and after a crisis.
The HST program was developed by psychologists Dr. John Thoburn, Dr. Kira Mauseth, Dr. Tona McGuire and Dr. Kathryn Adams who gave the 2 training during a visit to Amman.
The Health Support Team program is a mental health training curriculum developed by a team of psychologists with the goal of helping local communities after a disaster or in another traumatic situation understand the effects of trauma and the ways they can help one another to cope. The HST program includes training on common responses to trauma, coping skills and psychological support techniques, active listening skills, and information on the development of characteristics of resiliency. These concepts are also applied to the needs of children, and methods for adapting instruction or parenting needs to help children overcome or survive trauma.
The HST process includes four steps:
(1) Listening and Learning
(2) Offering Support
(3) Providing Tools
(4) Emphasizing Hope
The content of the Health Support Team training program includes modules that cover (a) psycho-educational information about the nature of trauma and responses to trauma; (b) supportive communication and listening techniques; (c) situational assessment and referral process information on suicide, substance use, anger and violence de-escalation, and serious mental illness, including decision making for problems which lie outside the scope of an HST volunteer’s training; (d) promotion of resiliency and disaster preparedness; (e) cognitive and behavioral relaxation and stress reduction tools; and (f) self-care practices and responsibly handling compassion fatigue.
The HST program was initiated in Haiti and has been documented for publication in 2013 in the American Psychological Association journal, International Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Practice, Consultation.
The training in Amman at Ruwwad brought together different social workers and active organizations and individuals within the community. The training was concluded with the decision that the new HST team in Amman will work together to create a small network of contacts and referrals to aid them with their work with locals and refugees alike.