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ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 69-78

Integrating psychosocial support at Ebola treatment units in Sierra Leone and Liberia


1 International Medical Corps, Los Angeles, CA
2 Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI, USA

Correspondence Address:
Adam Carl Levine
Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/INTV.INTV_8_18

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The Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic killed almost 12,000 people across Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, causing significant psychological distress and suffering. This paper describes International Medical Corps’ innovative and comprehensive model for integrating mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) considerations and activities into Ebola treatment units (ETUs) across Sierra Leone and Liberia. This includes staff capacity building as well as psychosocial considerations and activities to address needs and challenges at the ETUs. This model was aimed at reducing patient and family distress and promoting healthy behaviours and recovery. We also include data describing mental health-related symptoms reported by our ETU patients, as well as psychosocial support interventions utilised. We discuss recommendations and lessons learnt and conclude that in line with global guidelines, MHPSS considerations and activities should be integral to all aspects of EVD care. Key implications for practice
  • Patients admitted to ETUs face several stressors and challenges related to the ETU environment and procedures, separation from families and effects of EVD
  • Mental health and psychosocial support considerations should be an integral part of all aspects of care provided at the ETU
  • Paraprofessional psychosocial support workers can play a key role in meeting patient needs at the ETU in line with global mental health and psychosocial support guidelines.


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