Four years have passed since Typhoon Pablo struck Barangay Cabinuangan in New Bataan, Compostela Valley. During these years, the barangay has seen improvements –houses have been repaired, crops replanted, boulders and debris from landslides removed, and major infrastructures made operational. Still, the shadow of Typhoon Pablo hovers.
In response to the limited psychosocial and emotional resources available to the hundreds of towns in the country exposed to natural disasters every year, MLAC Institute for Psychosocial Services, Inc. in partnership with TELUS International Philippines (TIP) Community Board and Hijo Resources Corporation, developes a guide that can be used by trauma workers to assist them in helping others towards the road to recovery. This trauma and recovery primer was recently launched in Barangay Cabinuangan. Also, a trauma healing seminar was conducted on Dec. 6 last year.
Presence: A Primer on Trauma and Recovery for the Use of Trauma Workers, the book can be used to aid people who encounter individuals or groups who have gone through traumatic experiences, not just limited to disasters like typhoons but also physical abuse, prostitution, loss of loved ones, and other devastating scenarios. Ideally, one trauma worker can accommodate up to 20 patients in one session, so a primer such as this can go a long way towards empowering barangays and local governments in terms of trauma stewardship and emphasizing the importance of Psychological First Aid.
After the book launch, a trauma healing seminar session was conducted for trauma workers, including teachers from nine different schools in New Bataan, the New Bataan Police Force, local government unit staff, day care workers, social welfare office workers, and even representatives from the Philippine Army 1st Battalion 66th Infantry and Battalion 10th Infantry Division. The participants were divided into five groups with each group facilitated by an MLAC psychologist. They were taught the framework of trauma recovery management and an experience sharing activity was conducted to help them appreciate the importance of compassionate understanding for both the survivor and the helper.
TIP and MLAC is looking forward to making copies of the book available all over the country and plans for creating versions of the book in different local dialects is already underway. Other local government units, most recently the local government of Pasig, invited MLAC to hold a training session for their social workers. The Department of Health now also considers psychological first aid as one of the basic needs to be addressed for trauma victims, a progressive step towards ensuring that the impact of trauma especially due to disasters is minimized on a national level.
For more information, visit: www.telusinternational.com.
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