WHO releases guidelines for treating trauma and loss

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WHO/PAHO/V. Ariscain

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued guidelines for professionals providing mental health care to people suffering from trauma and loss.

WHO says the work to develop a protocol with the guidelines has been funded by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Dr. Mark van Ommeren, Scientist in the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, says the guidelines have been written for doctors, nurses and health officers who don't specialize in mental health.

"One of the messages from these guidelines is that, different from other areas of mental, actually most of the care is psychological. Medicines play a relatively small role here. In particular there is a popular treatment linked to other things, anti-anxiety drugs which doctors all around the world like to give to people for sleeping better, for anxiety, but those are actually unhelpful. So we are making recommendations against them."

Dr. van Ommeren says the new WHO guidelines can be used by primary health care workers to offer basic psychosocial support to refugees and people exposed to trauma or loss in other situations.

Gerry Adams, United Nations.

Duration: 1’16″

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