Navigation Links
Civilians trained by American mental health professionals bring healing to traumatized victims of Libya's civil war, Baylor study finds

Civilians traumatized by Libya's civil war in 2011 which left many homeless, poor and grieving have virtually no access to mental health professionals, but many have found healing through small groups led by Libyan volunteers who were trained by American professionals, according to a Baylor University study.

The finding has implications for traumatized people elsewhere, including in Somalia and Ethiopia, where similar efforts have begun; and in Egypt and Uganda, where such training is to begin soon, said Matthew Stanford, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and neuroscience in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences, who led the research. The study is published online in the South African Journal of Psychology.

"The American Psychological Association over the past few years has called for psychologists to develop new ways to deliver mental health services, because there simply aren't enough providers in the United States and it's even worse elsewhere," Stanford said. "Taking basic therapeutic principles and putting them into a format peers can deliver has been very effective."

In November 2012, shortly after the eight-month war's end, Stanford and a team from Acts of Mercy International, a Christian relief organization, traveled to Libya and found an inadequate mental health system fewer than 30 psychiatrists and no licensed psychologists or social workers in a country of more than 6 million people.

Libyans are struggling to cope with the aftermath of the war as well as 42 years under the brutal rule of dictator Moammar Gadhafi, a regime in which many were tortured or systematically raped. As many as 15,000 Libyans were killed and more than 50,000 injured in the war, and thousands live as "internally displaced persons (IDPs)" in camps throughout the country, Stanford said.

Team members focused on a camp for about 2,500 people near Benghazi. They recruited 10 volunteer civilians, who completed an intensive four-hour training including lectures and role-playing translated into Arabic and led by Acts of Mercy International staff. The peer-led "Hope Groups" met regularly for 10 weeks with 149 participants in 17 groups of friends and relatives in the camp. The average group size was eight people.

After 10 weeks, members anonymously completed the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist, a 17-item self-report broadly used within the mental health community. The report showed that the groups were helpful, with interaction among members, and most of the civilian leaders said they felt they could successfully train someone else to be a leader.

While prior research has shown that outcomes through mutual help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous are comparable to much more costly professional treatments, use of peer-led groups for war-related trauma in civilians had not been investigated until the Baylor study.

"A lot of times, people think, 'I'm just going to tough it out.' But sometimes, that's just not possible," Stanford said.

While the program's content was simplified, it was challenging for translators unfamiliar with mental health concepts.

But "despite cultural and language differences, there are a lot of universal things that cut across cultures," Stanford said. "In an ideal world, the people would be seeing licensed therapists and getting medications, but this is different. It's simplified, but they do get a dramatic reduction in symptoms."

In the sessions, participants learned about such common symptoms of trauma as depression, sleep problems, anger and guilt. They learned ways to cope with crises and rebuild emotional closeness that had been disrupted by trauma.

For leaders, overseeing groups has "really given them a purpose," Stanford said. "They want to be trained as leaders in towns that have been destroyed and go to other camps and begin training others. That's what you hope for that they'll take ownership of it."


Contact: Terry Goodrich
Baylor University

Related medicine news :

1. Study explores the impact of corruption and military organization on civilians
2. Aeromedevac Now Providing Air Ambulance Service with the Top Trained Personnel in the Industry
3. Study shows people can be trained to be more compassionate
4. Williamsburg, VA Periodontist, Dr. Michael Schroer, is Trained and Now Treating Patients with the Advanced Laser Gum Surgery for Gum Disease Treatment
5. Trained Beagle Sniffs Out Troublesome Hospital Infection
6. Residents as Good as Fully Trained Docs if Properly Supervised: Study
7. 2014 American Heart Association Go Red for Women Chair Natalie Baro
8. Local Campaign to Educate African American Women on Increased Risk of Breast Cancer
9. Foundation Financial Group Will Give the Gift of Blood This Holiday Season via an American Red Cross Blood Drive
10. Majority of Americans avoid addressing end-of-life issues, according to new study
11. American Lamb: A Time-Honored Tradition for the Holiday Table
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now ... and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings ... The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Oklahoma (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... both athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures ... Oklahoma City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell Observance Day. ... the benefits of holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan, has ... , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood cells, which ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited ... To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. ... highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Investment Group (TGIG), has initiated cultivation and processing operations at its production facility, ... Pahrump, Nevada. , Puradigm is the manufacturer of a complete system of proactive ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016  Arkis BioSciences, a leading innovator in ... durable cerebrospinal fluid treatments, today announced it has ... is led by Innova Memphis, followed by Angel ... investors.  Arkis, new financing will accelerate the commercialization ... release of its in-licensed Endexo® technology. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Any dentist who has made ... the current process. Many of them do not even offer ... difficulties and high laboratory costs involved. And those who ARE ... at such a high cost that the majority of today,s ... Dr. Parsa Zadeh , founder of Dental Evolutions Inc. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... INDIANAPOLIS , June 23, 2016 Roche ... received 510(k) clearance for its Elecsys BRAHMS PCT (procalcitonin) ... severe sepsis or septic shock. With this clearance, Roche ... provide a fully integrated solution for sepsis risk assessment ... associated with bacterial infection and PCT levels in blood ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: