Institute Focuses On Recent Disasters
It’s been quite the year for mother nature. Tidal waves, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes… Researchers estimate that natural disasters have killed more people during the last 12 months than they did during the previous ten years combined.
This is largely due to the tsunamis in late December 2004; however, it is also true that there are now approximately 3 times as many lethal natural disasters during a given year than there were 25 years ago. This is partly because more and more people are living in disaster prone areas, and partly because there has been a significant increase in hydro-meteorological disasters such as typhoons, hurricanes, droughts and floods during the past few decades.
More disasters mean more disaster-response work for humanitarian workers, including us. During 2005, the Headington Institute has been involved in disaster-response efforts by supporting those around the world who are on the frontlines.
For humanitarian workers helping hundreds of thousands of people in Indonesia rebuild their lives after the tsunamis in Asia, Headington staff have made two trips to Indonesia to facilitate retreats and provide group debriefs and training sessions. Ongoing support for these staff has also been provided by e-mail and phone.
For disaster relief personnel who are working on the destruction caused by hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma, Headington staff have provided a number of in-person individual debriefs, as well as ongoing support by phone and e-mail. Group debriefs are scheduled for the future.
Ironically, an on-site retreat for humanitarian workers in Pakistan that had already been scheduled had to be postponed when the earthquake hit in September. Since the earthquake in Pakistan, Headington staff have provided ongoing support services by email and phone for humanitarian workers from a number of different organizations. Headington staff will be traveling to Pakistan early next year to provide group debriefs and training workshops.
Thank you for your interest and support as we work to help those responding to the largest natural disasters in the world this year.
Highlights in 2005 ...
The Headington Institute has:
- Provided hundreds of hours of orientation, counseling, and debriefing to humanitarian staff working in crisis situations.
- Conducted more than 20 training workshops on traumatic stress in the humanitarian field.
- Completed Helping Kenya’s Helpers, a 5-day training and counseling series in Nairobi for mental health professionals and pastors in East Africa.
- Presented workshops at three conferences across the country.
- Facilitated three retreats in Indonesia for humanitarian workers doing tsunami-relief work.
- Facilitated a retreat in the Dominican Republic for humanitarian workers in Haiti.
- Facilitated a retreat for a number of domestic relief workers involved in the Florida clean-up.
- Conducted fact-finding consultations in Switzerland with UNICEF and the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response
Also in the News...
- Our first online training module on understanding and coping with traumatic stress is ... online!Check out this resource on our website.
- This January, the Institute is holding its first group training for the Headington Institute Clinical Associates in California.
- The work of the Institute was highlighted in the Pasadena Star News. Visit our website to read the full article.
From the Executive Director
Earlier this week I met with a relief worker who had been involved in relief and recovery efforts in the Asia tsunami region, Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf States, and the recent Pakistan earthquake, all in one year. As you can imagine, he was utterly exhausted by this onslaught of natural disasters. Like him, many relief workers move from one humanitarian emergency to the next, helping victims in need of rescue, medical treatment, food, shelter, and basic supplies.
Research indicates that more than one-third of these professionals will eventually suffer from the cumulative effects of repeated exposure to trauma associated with their work, leading to emotional impairment, burnout, and compassion fatigue. They must receive training and counseling to maintain their physical hardiness, emotional resilience, and spiritual vitality. To accommodate an increase in requests for our services this year, we are expanding our professional staff and programs. You can become an important partner in this effort by joining those whose gifts underwrite two-thirds of our operating expenses. Thank you for your interest and support. Jim Guy
Lloyd McKay Given Award
Dr. Lloyd McKay was given the Headington Institute 2005 Award of Recognition for his 22 years of humanitarian service and economic development. Dr. McKay received the award at the recent Headington Institute Board of Directors Retreat, where he was the keynote speaker.
The World Bank is a leading development agency whose mission is to reduce poverty by providing loans and advice to developing countries regarding agriculture, water, education, health, infrastructure, public policy and governance.
Lloyd McKay has worked with the World Bank for 20 years on a variety of projects in Bangladesh and India (trade policy and industrialization), Indonesia (debt management and post financial-crisis recovery), East Timor (budget formulation), The Philippines (judicial reform and fiscal management) and several countries in Southern Africa (development assistance). Currently, he is leading the World Bank team preparing a reconstruction and development strategy to complement peacebuilding in Somalia.
As he accepted his award, McKay spoke of the different roles that humanitarian workers play in reducing poverty and caring for people in need. “I’m totally committed to the Headington’s mission of care for the caregivers,” he said, “as I see this care as critical for the sustainability of humanitarian workers around the world.”
First “Helping the Helpers” Program
Completed in Nairobi
The inaugural Headington Institute Helping the Helpers program was completed in August 2005. The five-day workshop and counseling program was provided at no cost to psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors and pastors based in East Africa who are interested in working with humanitarian workers.
The 45 participants came from Kenya, Rwanda, and South Africa, and expressed warm thanks to all of you who supported this program. One participant wrote the following:
“I work in a support counseling center … working across East and Central Africa…[we have] greatly appreciated the support we have received from the Headington Institute—workshops here in Kenya, continuing education, articles through the internet as well as caring support when we meet or communicate via email. Thank you for supporting this workshop series and having the foresight to invest in the needs here in Africa.”
Helping Workers in Haiti
Humanitarian workers in Haiti are living in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and face many challenges, including political violence, frequent natural disasters, and a relatively high risk of being kidnapped and held for ransom. The security situation is so volatile that many international humanitarian and embassy staff were evacuated earlier this year and are only now beginning to return.
In August 2005, Institute staff traveled to the region to provide training and counseling for national humanitarian workers from Haiti. Another regional retreat for a different group of Haitian staff is scheduled for early 2006.