Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) responds to psychosocial needs in Uttarakhand

New Delhi, September 9, 2013: Medical humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has responded to psychosocial needs of people who suffered from incessant rain, cloudbursts and landslides in Uttarakhand in June 2013. The floods had caused widespread destruction and thousands were reported as missing.

“MSF intervention has been based on an assessment carried out in the affected areas during which need for psychosocial care was identified,” says Dr Swapan Kachop, Deputy Director, MSF India. Other health related needs and relief efforts were well covered and carried out by various governmental and non-governmental agencies.

MSF has provided psychosocial care to the population affected by the flash floods through its mobile teams, raising awareness about mental health and offering counselling in Ukhimath Tehsil in Rudraprayag district.

Dr Swapan adds: “Despite lack of knowledge about mental health, our mental health services have been generally well received by villagers.  Many bereaved clients presented with grief reactions that are within expectation following traumatic losses, as was the case in Uttarakhand. These included feelings of despair, anger, hopelessness, and at times, suicidal ideations.”

MSF has a long history of medical humanitarian action in India – from sending medical teams to assist people impacted by an earthquake in Gujarat in 2001 to addressing unmet humanitarian needs in Assam after violent clashes in 2012, MSF has responded to people in need.

Notes to editor:

About MSF India

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an independent medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and natural disasters in more than 65 countries. MSF offers healthcare to people based only on need and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

MSF received the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development in 1996 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999.

MSF has been working in India since 1999 and has provided medical treatment to thousands of patients in India. Currently, MSF runs eight projects in India in seven states. In Jammu and Kashmir, MSF has been providing mental health counselling since 2001 and provides counselling through five fixed centres which are located within government hospitals in Srinagar, Baramulla and Sopore.

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